Smashing Effort

By now everyone and their favorite blogger has heard about the Guardian having its hard drives smashed by the British government, because they might contain leaked information about the NSA, et al.  See link here.  Here is an excerpt with some emphasis.

The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. “We can call off the black helicopters,” joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

Whitehall was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age. We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won’t do it in London. The seizure of Miranda’s laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald’s work.

This smashing of machines is not unprecedented.  Let’s not forget Ned Ludd and the Luddites.  Here is a description of an earlier an earlier machine smashing episode.

. . . a popular theory is that the movement was named after Ned Ludd, a youth who allegedly smashed two stocking frames in 1779, and whose name had become emblematic of machine destroyers.

With enough hammer wielding goons this leaking problem just might be stopped.

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