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.

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Companies: the guardian

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

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Anonymous Coward says:

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! 🙂

Duke (profile) says:

Re: 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…

I'm_Having_None_Of_It says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

out_of_the_blue says:

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)


art guerrilla (profile) says:

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’…

OldGeezer (profile) says:

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.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Re: 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.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Re: 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.

eroticreader says:

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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