Guardian Releases Video From That Time Its Editors Were Forced To Destroy A Laptop That Had Snowden Documents

from the remember-that-one-time,-at-idiot-camp? dept

You may recall how, last summer, there was a ridiculous situation in which David Cameron ordered a government official to go down to the Guardian's offices in London and force them to physically destroy a computer that had stored some encrypted documents from the batch of documents that Ed Snowden had given to reporters. The whole thing was ridiculous on multiple levels, as the Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger clearly told the government officials that there were other copies outside of the UK, and that the Guardian would continue reporting on those documents from its offices in NY. Apparently unaware of how stupid they looked, the government officials continued the charade, and the Guardian physically destroyed the drives and memory cards.

The Guardian has now released a short video that intersperses some commentary and news clips about the event with some actual footage of Guardian employees taking power tools to the components in question. As Rusbridger noted at the time, this was a particularly "pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age." And, really, that line could apply to an awful lot about the NSA/GCHQ affair lately. Yes, they understand a lot about how to spy on everyone via digital tools, but they've shown little to no recognition of the problems this creates for the economy, for technology, for innovation, for privacy, for security and for public sentiment.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    there's a rumor that Alan Rusbridger is going to be sued for copyright infringement for showing this film. it supposedly belongs to the British government in general and Cameron in particular. he wants to be the only one who can share it with his buddy in Washington, showing him what a prick he made of himself! :-)

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:27pm

    It's official, the UK is now a dictatorship.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:37pm

    Even if I had hundreds of backups...

    I'd be unhappy about destroying hard drives. Has the Guardian sought restitution for their loss of property (and the expense of wasting their employees time on this destruction party)?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Even if I had hundreds of backups...

    They wouldn't get it.

    Their organization was threatened by the government, and nasty things would have happened if they hadn't of destroyed them.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Glen, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:52pm

    Someone should ask Mr. Cameron how effective destroying those hard drive where.

     

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  6.  
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    Glen, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:52pm

    Someone should ask Mr. Cameron how effective destroying those hard drive where.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Vic, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    Oh, no! but there is some progress. At least the officials knew to destroy the hard drives and memory cards and not the whole "computer" thing, including (especially) the monitor and the keyboard with the mouse...

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Glen, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:54pm

    Re:

    Damn double post.

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 4:00pm

    The interesting and alarming part is "last summer"...

    Why release this now? -- More importantly, WHERE'S regular releases from the alleged giant trove? For last three months or so all we've gotten is talking heads including Snowden, with various synthetic distractions. For instance, the Canadian CSEC flap is nothing new, just barely enough to provide Mike a couple paragraphs of filler and distract fanboys with the "porn spy" phrase.

    It's consistent with a limited hangout psyop to have this little information after six-eight months. I've yet to see anything either new or non-obvious.

    And the co-conspirator corporations have receded yet more into background: the pointless court case to release some meaningless unverifiable numbers has been "won", and so Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and others are totally off the hook for past crimes and won't do it again, right?

    Someone tell me what has changed from ALL the Snowden "leak" except what Naomi Wolf predicted from the start: now the dolts are more aware of how much they're surveilled.

    Techdirt's official motto: This isn't surprising. (11 of 193)

    11:59:19[m-482-1]

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 4:16pm

    Re:

    have you watched the video? no? thought so...

     

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  11.  
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    Nick (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 5:16pm

    Why....? Why did they have to take a grinder to the motherboard? It doesn't save any DATA.

    Unless they basically believe it is possible to flash a BIOS chip with secret data and still have it boot.

     

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  12.  
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    krolork (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 5:26pm

    We need a revolution.

     

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  13.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 5:39pm

    it *IS* possible they were technically clueless...

    ...but that is beside the point:
    the point was the use of naked state power and intimidation, and they won that battle, didn't they ? ? ?

    *IF* there's a 'next time' and the computers they have *ARE* the only/unique repositories, they have nothing to push back with, they've capitulated before, they have nowhere left to go...

    first, they came for the 'puters, and i said nothing, 'cause i knew it was on other 'puters;
    then they came for the laptops, and i said nothing, 'cause i wiped mine;
    then they came for the tablets, smartphones, usb sticks, SD cards, servers, backups, DVDs, etc, and i (AND EVERYONE ELSE IN 'THE RESISTANCE') was screwed...

    again, the 'game' isn't "your technology/logic wins!" the game is "THE STATE can crush you if you don't do what we want"...
    alone, you don't stand a chance...

    'we must all hang together, for surely, we will all hang apart'...

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    willow, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 6:48pm

    BS.

    Rusbridger is a drama queen. I see no gun pointed to his head in the pics.

    So, how exactly were you forced Mr Rusbridger?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Vic, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Re:

    No I did not. It's a little difficult with the firewall at my work. I based my reaction on Mike's words about the hard drives and memory cards. I just did watch the video at home and still have not seen any killed monitors or keyboards. So, your point is....? 8^)

     

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  16.  
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    OldGeezer (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 8:54pm

    Are these idiots really so technically ignorant that they didn't know that if they wanted to get rid of the documents that all they had to do was remove the hard drive and use a secure erase program to fill every sector with ones and zeros? The whole thing reminded me of the classic scene in the movie Office Space when they took the fax machine to the field and smashed it. Drills, angle grinders, dremel tools etc? Really? Did they think that grinding down the motherboard was necessary? Did they think Rusbridger was bluffing when he told them there were other copies? David Cameron is a clueless idiot.

     

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  17.  
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    Alana (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 10:34pm

    Re:

    This is the stupidest post I've read all day.

    "Forced" can be as simple as "A really goddamn credible threat from the fucking government to come in and fuck your shit up".

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 11:09pm

    Re:

    NOW it is?

    Where have you been living for the past 200 years? Granted, it's not as a bad as the KHmer Rouge etc. but Britain was the biggest dictatorship for a whole century.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re:

    There is a huge difference between a monarchy and a dictatorship.

    Ignorant Americans should go back to school.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 11:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They even destroyed the south bridge on that motherboard and took all the RAM chips off, I bet there was lots of info 'stored' on those chips.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 11:26pm

    Re: Re:

    And for the expense of a couple of computers he obviously took the wise and easy choice.

     

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  22.  
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    McCrea (profile), Feb 1st, 2014 @ 12:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    We're sure they meant it's a royal dictatorship.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 1:23am

    Re:

    Holy fuck I lost IQ just reading that.

     

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  24.  
    icon
    Duke (profile), Feb 1st, 2014 @ 4:09am

    Re:

    I imagine that rumour will stay a rumour.

    I can't see how the copyright in any of the film would belong to the Government or Cameron. Some of it (the shots from the Parliamentary committee) will be owned by Parliament, but is released under a fairly permissive licence.

    And then there are the exceptions to copyright; fair use for news reporting. Plus the lack of actual damage.

    So no, I don't think anyone will be suing Rusbridger (or the Guardian) for copyright infringement. Or anything else...

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 7:36am

    Re:

    Fair's fair; that printer in Office Space had it coming.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 7:40am

    This was a public intimidation exorcise, fear us or the grinder will be turned on you.

    It failed In the worse way though , It shows that the Government has very little respect for it's people.

     

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  27.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Feb 1st, 2014 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re:

    True. Have you seen my stapler?

    My point is even someone with very basic computer skills knows that a document can only be temporarily stored in RAM and is gone as soon as you shut down. This was just childish retribution for embarrassing the government. They even knew that Rusbridger isn't the only reporter that has the documents. You would think that they would at least want to know what else Snowden leaked because it is obvious they don't have a clue.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 7:36pm

    It's almost like someone was put under extreme stress and over reacted and did something irtational.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anon, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 8:39pm

    Snowden TV interview blacked out in US

    http://jonathanturley.org/2014/02/01/edward-snowden-speaks-us-blackout-of-interview/

    Use Firefox addon VideoDownloadHelper and grab a copy while (or if) you can. Then you can post it to any webserver to which you may have access. Blocking this stuff is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    There is a huge difference between a monarchy and a dictatorship.

    There is? Might want to tell the people of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Brunei.

    Guess it depends on how much power lies in the hand of the monarch. An autocracy is an autocracy regardless to whether the person in power is called an absolute monarch or dictator.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 2nd, 2014 @ 12:15am

    gustapo intimidation
    Re-education
    A clear message

    I dont think they'll like the response

     

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  32.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), Feb 2nd, 2014 @ 2:37am

    Re:

    Just made them look like complete idiots. The whole world is laughing at their pointless and childish tantrum. Even they knew it would not stop the leaks. If they really just wanted to be destructive they could have just taken a hammer to the hard drive since that is the only part that contained any data. This laptop was probably just a decoy anyway.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Avantare, Feb 2nd, 2014 @ 3:45am

    Re: Snowden TV interview blacked out in US

    This one is on Vimeo.
    http://vimeo.com/85153645

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    eroticreader, Feb 2nd, 2014 @ 9:54am

    Shoud we

    I'm starting to think that the only way to get rid of the asshats like those mentioned in the video is to do one of two things.
    1. tar, feather, and publicly humiliate them to set an example of what happens to people like them
    2. send them off to a remote location from which they will never bother anyone again. (except themselves, of course)

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    I'm_Having_None_Of_It, Feb 3rd, 2014 @ 3:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Um, you do realise that the monarchy has no executive authority, don't you? They're little more than a tourist attraction these days.

    The Queen can't

    declare war
    levy taxes
    avoid taxes
    try people or order executions
    enact laws

    without an Act of Parliament ratified in the House of Lords.

    So now you know.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    I'm_Having_None_Of_It, Feb 3rd, 2014 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, that's true.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Clownius, Feb 4th, 2014 @ 3:33am

    Re: Re: Snowden TV interview blacked out in US

    Didnt these idiots learn anything from trying to take out wikileaks?

    You target it and we will multiple it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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