Written documents have surfaced showing that Icelandic authorities tapped phone lines on at least six occasions, from 1949-1968. This was revealed this weekend in a talk given by historian Gudni Th. Jóhannesson on research that he has conducted, which was reported in all the main media.
Among events that appear to have prompted the phone tapping were Iceland’s joining NATO in 1949, the arrival of the US military in 1951 and negotiations with the UK about Iceland’s exclusive fishing zone in 1961. The phones that were tapped belonged to socialists, opponents of the US military presence in Iceland, and a number of MPs. Icelandic legislation allowed for phone tapping during this period and Jóhannesson’s research did not indicate that such activities were performed without authorization.