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United Kingdom Government The Media Your Rights Online

Now On Video: GCHQ Destroying Laptop Full of Snowden Disclosures 237

Posted by timothy
from the ask-not-what-your-country-can-destroy-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Saturday 20 July 2013, in the basement of the Guardian's office in Kings Cross, London, watched by two GCHQ technicians, Guardian editors destroyed hard drives and memory cards on which encrypted files leaked by Edward Snowden had been stored. This is the first time footage of the event has been released."
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Now On Video: GCHQ Destroying Laptop Full of Snowden Disclosures

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  • Saving face? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by txoof (553270) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @03:45AM (#46126837) Homepage
    What the hell was that? They threatened to shut down the Guardian if the media wasn't handed over; it appears though that they didn't have the balls to go through with the threat. Instead they came up with this bizarre compromise that involved 'destroying' the data. Why do this? Was it just a way for the government to save face and not have to back down from some crazy ass redline that threw out there? They must know that the files were immediately duplicated and spread around the world. That was by far one of the strangest things I've ever seen a newspaper do.
  • Re:Motherboards (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mister Transistor (259842) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @04:25AM (#46126953) Journal

    It's just a stupid as the US response taking out and replacing every part of every computer and network that Snowden accessed.

    I mean, really - the CAT-5? Come on. Just a stupid excuse for work and so that they can claim "Oh he did millions of $$ damages, see we had to replace everything including a new coat of paint on the data center".

    Absolute tripe.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @06:07AM (#46127181)

    You can overwrite the drive 50 times and you can not be certain that the data is unrecoverable.

    That hasn't been true for about 20 years now. Overwrite your data once and it's gone. Even if you don't overwrite it randomly no data recovery group have been shown to be capable of recovering overwritten data even in the face of great monetary incentive.

    There's a reason the military shreds harddrives when it disposes of them.

    Yes but it has nothing to do with data possibly being recoverable. It's entirely to do with removing all doubt if a procedure has been applied. If you look at a drive you have no way of knowing if the data has been wiped or if there's anything recoverable on it. If you look at small shards of what's left of a drive then there's no doubt. It doesn't mean that other methods aren't equally secure, just harder to administrate.

  • Re:Saving face? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday February 01, 2014 @11:07AM (#46128121) Homepage Journal

    The NSA didn't exactly get much opposition from Google, Microsoft and everyone else they've tapped into, did they?

    I think the NSA got considerable opposition from Google, and knew from the beginning that it would, which is why Google was (per David Drummond) never even asked to provide broad access to user data. The revelation that the NSA might be tapping connections between data centers caused a crash project to make sure all of that traffic was encrypted, for example. In general, this stuff has really pissed Googlers off and Google engineers are working to plug every potential leak they can find.

    (Disclaimer: I work for Google, but don't speak for Google.)

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