Low-Tech ‘OPSEC’: Germany And Russia Buying Typewriters To Avoid NSA Spying

Germany and Russia are frantically seeking old-fashioned typewriters to embark on a low-tech OPSEC approach to communications to avoid NSA spying. Portions of the German government are going retro to avoid high-tech snooping by the United States government.

The head of the German parliament’s NSA investigative committee stated during a news show segment earlier this week that his office could begin using manual typewriters to avoid the prying eyes and ears of the U.S. National Security Agency. Patrick Sensburg, the German committee head, was charged with discovering how much spying from America and the English-speaking world, is going on in Germany. The NSA investigation head has been working for several months to set up a manner in which Edward Snowden could testify before his committee.

According to Sensburg, the German government is particularly interested in emphasizing the importance of operational security in the country. His committee has already purchased at least one manual typewriter for use by the government.

“We have to try to keep our internal communication sure to send encrypted emails, use crypto phones and other things, and other things I won’t mention, of course,” Sensburg said. The German official also endorsed security measures which include smartphone security audits.

The announcement about going old school to avoid the NSA was uttered on the same day as German law enforcement officers arrested “Markus R.” The man was reportedly employed by the BND, a German spying agency. Markus R has been accused of spying for the CIA.

Ar Technica had this to say about the German spy arrest:

“Markus allegedly approached the CIA via e-mail in 2012 to share German intelligence, and the offer was accepted. He is accused of providing 218 documents over three in-person meetings with CIA agents in Austria, and he was paid about $34,000. Local authorities only detected Markus in May 2014 because he allegedly sent an unencrypted e-mail to the Russian consulate in Munich that was intercepted by German intelligence.”

Germany is to the first nation to look for low-tech communications solutions to evade high-tech spying by the NSA and others. Russia reportedly spent tens of thousands of dollars on typewriters to curtain leaks and electronic spying.

Izvestia, a Russian newspaper, said the government prefers the German-made Triumph-Adler Twen 180 model typewriter. The Kremlin reportedly paid about $740 per typewriter. The typewriters can reportedly “link” a typed page to the device used to author a document. Dmitry Medvedecv, a Russian official, was allegedly spied upon during his visit to the G20 summit in London.

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