German politicians may use typewriters to beat spying

Typewriter

'Yes, we're serious' say German MPs considering a return to old fashioned methods after US spy row

LAST UPDATED AT 15:19 ON Tue 15 Jul 2014

German politicians say they are seriously considering returning to the use of typewriters - "and not electronic models either" - for sensitive documents as they investigate American spying in their country.

The Guardian reports that the surprising news came from a Christian Democrat member of the Bundestag, Patrick Sensburg, who is heading an inquiry into the alleged US spying operations in Germany which led to the expulsion of a CIA agent.

Amid speculation that the CIA had actively targeted the German inquiry into its activities, attempting to eavesdrop on it electronically, Sensburg told an interviewer on Monday night that the typewriter plan was "no joke".

Sensburg explained: "Unlike other inquiry committees, we are investigating an ongoing situation. Intelligence activities are still going on, they are happening."

As well as adopting paper communication, German politicians are also shunning the telephone, says the Guardian, quoting an article by Die Welt which claims: "People are trying to stay away from technology whenever they can.

"Those concerned talk less on the phone, prefer to meet in person. More coffees are being drunk and lunches eaten together. Even the walk in the park is increasingly enjoying a revival."

The Guardian recalls that the Russian authorities were said to have resorted to the same technique last year after whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA (National Security Agency) surveillance, putting in an order for 20 Triumph Adler typewriters. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.