Snowden scandal brings back the typewriter in Russia
Russia plans to purchase an array of old-fashioned typewriters. AFP photoRussia’s Federal Protection Service (FSO), the federal government agency concerned with the tasks related to the protection of several high-ranking state officials, including the president, has placed an order for 20 typewriters for $15,000 to prevent leaks from computer hardware, Russian daily Izvestia reported.
The order was placed after revelations by fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden about Washington’s widespread electronic surveillance as well as the recent scandal around the false report of the firing of Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin, the WikiLeaks release of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables and the bugging of then-President Dmitry Medvedev at the 2009 G-20 summit in London.
Typewriters are still in use in a number of ministries and security services, according to experts cited by Izvestia, and the typewriters in question are designed to print classified documents, in that each machine has a unique font that can be traced back to the source.
But experts also note that the use of old-fashioned ink-and-paper systems has the same drawbacks, in addition to all the problems of storage and the vulnerability of the physical material.