retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I have a thing for irony. I think this qualifies.

Consumer Affairs reports that German government officials, distrustful of their American government counterparts because of revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was spying on electronic communications between pretty much everyone everywhere (including the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel), believe they have found a way to circumvent or at least slow down American spies.

Typewriters.

That's right. The German legislative committee looking into the spying allegations has decided to use a typewriter - and a manual one at that - in order to make its internal communications harder to steal.

According to the story, "Germany isn't the first modern government to acquire old-fashioned technology for security purposes; last July the Russian government reportedly bought 20 new electric typewriters for certain high-level government documentation, after learning the extent of NSA spying activities."

Of course, the story concedes, "Using typewriters doesn't make you (or a foreign government) immune to spying, from the NSA or anyone else, but it does at least guarantee that a successful spy will have to make an actual effort, and perhaps even take some actual risks, in order to gain your secrets, rather than merely press some buttons on a computer keyboard, bring up the NSA file on you and monitor your communications to his heart's content. That's about the best you can hope for, these days."

Good thing I'm not worried about the NSA spying on my communications. I'd have to start sending MNB via carrier pigeon….
KC's View: