Statistics Norway wants to receive several million daily receipts from food stores, signalling a new era in state data collection. Privacy advocates and the supermarkets themselves are unhappy.
People living in Norway are used to big government. But the latest news coming out of Oslo is a surprising new step down the road of data collection that not everyone is happy with.
Statistics Norway (SSB) is the state-owned entity responsible for collecting, producing and communicating statistics related to the economy, population and society at national, regional and local levels.
Because everything about an individual living in Norway is linked to their fødselnummer (birth number), SSB already knows where you live, what you earn and what’s on your criminal record.
However, according to a report by NRK, they now want to know where you shop, and what you buy.
Data collection from supermarket transactions
SSB has ordered Norway’s major supermarket chains NorgesGruppen, Coop, Bunnpris and Rema 1000 to share all their receipt data with the agency. Nets, the payment processor that is responsible for 80% of transactions, will also need to provide data.
“A link between a payment transaction made with a debit card and a grocery receipt enables SSB to link a payment transaction and receipt for more than 70% of grocery purchases,” SSB said in an assessment.
Such a collection will signal a new era for SSB, as the agency now seeks to collect data from private companies and not just public registers. Given the rise in identity theft in Norway, it’s no surprise that some people have concerns with the move for increased data collection.