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German Official Says Manual Typewriters May Be the Answer to NSA Spying

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Posted on Jul 15, 2014

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The idea has since been dismissed by other German politicians, but on a morning talk show, Patrick Sensburg, who is leading the Bundestag’s investigation into NSA surveillance, said the government has considered using non-electronic typewriters.

Surely encryption would be easier. It seems to work for Glenn Greenwald, in any event.

According to The Guardian, Russia’s Federal Guard Service (FSO) has ordered 20 typewriters for sensitive communications.

The Guardian reports that reaction in Germany to Sensburg’s comments has been negative, a sign that typewriters will remain in the past:

“Before I start using typewriters and burning notes after reading, I’d rather abolish the secret services,” tweeted Martina Renner, an opposition member of the parliamentary committee investigating the activities of US and other intelligence agencies in Germany. Sahra Wagenknecht, Die Linke party’s deputy chair, described the suggestion as grotesque.

Christian Flisek, the SPD’s representative on the committee, told Spiegel Online: “This call for mechanical typewriters is making our work sound ridiculous. We live in the 21st century, where many people communicate predominantly by digital means. Effective counter-espionage works digitally too. The idea that we can protect people from surveillance by dragging them back to the typewriter is absurd.”

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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