Clear signs of mobile surveillance in Oslo, despite denial from Police Security Service

Clear signs of mobile surveillance in Oslo, despite denial from Police Security Service

Organisation: Aftenposten (Norway)

Publication Date: 04/13/2016

Size of team/newsroom:large

Description

Aftenposten first reported on signs of mobile surveillance in Oslo in December 2014. A few months later, an investigation held by the National Police Security Services concluded that the signs of surveillance had “natural explanations”. Following this, Aftenposten decided to ask external experts for forensic reports and dig even deeper in the data. From the expert company Delma, we received a richer database of around 42.000 records. We carefully analyzed the data through advanced SQL-queries, identified records that deviated from normal mobile behaviour, plotted findings on maps, and presented the results to experts. The result was a second round of stories where technical issues were central. Explaining these findings to our readers were challenging. We decided to carefully analyze the investigation the Police Security Services, and confront each of their findings with our data. The resulting article is a rich and visual article: http://mm.aftenposten.no/2015/her-gikk-mobilalarmene-i-oslo/ Simplified English version: www.aftenposten.no/8071885.ece

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

The deep analysis of the data demanded complex techniques. Data journalist Fredrik Hager-Thoresen used Haversine to compare GPS-coordinates, and built a complete tool using PHP, Javascript, Leaflet and D3 to analyse the database. We’ve provided a screenshot of the tool. Secondly, we went to great lengths to explain the findings as simple and thoroughly as possible. Presenting the data findings that indicated mobile surveillance in a map was challenging. Click “Se kart” (Show map) in http://mm.aftenposten.no/2015/her-gikk-mobilalarmene-i-oslo/ to see how it works. The red findings indicate mobile surveillance.

Technologies used for this project:

As mentioned previously: The deep analysis of the data demanded complex techniques. Data journalist Fredrik Hager-Thoresen used Haversine to compare GPS-coordinates, and built a complete tool using PHP, Javascript, Leaflet and D3 to analyse the database. We’ve provided a screenshot of the tool. To present the story we used standard webdev techniques and a tight visual profile, as shown here: http://mm.aftenposten.no/2015/her-gikk-mobilalarmene-i-oslo/

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