Sunday, August 10, 2014

Germany and Russia Turn to Typewriters To Ward off The NSA

If you are worried about the NSA or some hacker locked away in Siberia seizing your emails, or personal correspondence authored on your technical devices you might want to follow Germany and Russia a step or two back in time.

German politicians have conceded that members in the Bundestag (Germany's parliament) are seriously considering using typewriters and handwriting to author sensitive documents and communications. This decision is prompted by concerns over United States' National Security Agency's ability to eavesdropping on modern tech apparatus. Russian government officials confirmed the Russian government has already began reverting to paper communications.

Former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg commented on the issue on July 14.

"There is a level of mistrust that needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed from Washington. It is serious when you look at the general mood right now in Germany."

Russia began their switch back to typewriters in the summer of 2013. A Russian official explained.

 "After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposés by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened in on during his visit to the G-20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents."

Typed and handwritten communications are still subject to espionage via of physical reconnaissance albeit more difficult to accomplish. Someone would have to physically intercept or steal the documents they were after. However, this greatly decreases snooping and spying from afar.

Revelations from the likes of Edward Snowden about the NSA's illicit and covert privacy intrusions in the U.S. and abroad has damaged  U.S. relationships with its allies . Washington is on the verge of losing its working relationship with Berlin. Russia has become even more suspect of just how on the level America is with them. It is of little surprise that neighboring countries would be wary of a government that spies on its own citizens. Germany and Russia's attitude toward security of sensitive data is one more countries are probably going to adopt.

Nikolai Kovalev, the former head of Russia's Federal Security Service, makes a simple yet compelling observation on computer security that no one can debate.

"Any information can be taken from computers."

In reality, computer security is only as good as the lack of tenacity of the intruder targeting it.

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