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

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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  • Moronic. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01, 2014 @04:00AM (#46126877)

    I'm dumbfounded.

    Why on earth would GCHQ and/or the government want to show us so clearly that they are complete morons?

    I might assume they are not and that there was some deep purpose to this display of idiocy but I don't see it.

  • by erikkemperman ( 252014 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @04:00AM (#46126879)

    Godwin in 6 minutes, well done.

    Look, I agree that this is a pretty bad transgression on the part of British government, but let's keep a bit of perspective.

    If anything it is slightly comical that these people think they can destroy digital information with drills and grinders and so on. Obviously they really don't, GHCQ do not have a reputation of being digitards.

    So this is a message, the presence of cameras confirms it. On the one hand to the assorted press, watch your step. On the other hand to their US counterparts, sorry about this chaps we've got your back.

    Which is a dick move, to be sure, but not quite the holocaust yet.

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

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @04:30AM (#46126969) Homepage Journal

    I'm so tired of hearing that.

    The laws are different over here in Europe, yes. But bland statements like the above just make me cringe. Some rights are stronger in the US, some are stronger in Europe, and it even differs by country.

    And then there's the law on the one hand and enforcement on the other. The NSA didn't exactly get much opposition from Google, Microsoft and everyone else they've tapped into, did they? That's not new or "post 9/11", either. If you read up on the history of the NSA, you'll find that in the early days they went to the telegraph companies and without a court order they got copies of every telegraph message leaving or entering the USA.

  • Re:Motherboards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @04:40AM (#46126999) Homepage Journal

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

    Disagree. No matter what you think of the NSA, in the whole circus they are one of the few people who actually know their stuff. These guys are scary good at what they do. If I had to clean up a place that was bugged by the NSA, I'd do the same - rip out everything and replace it.

    You can buy keyloggers that fit into a USB plug these days. I'm pretty sure the NSA has stuff like Ethernet monitors that fit into slightly-larger-than-usual CAT-5 plugs. And if you consider the size of Raspberry Pi, you'll realize that you can fit a whole second computer into the case of another computer.

    When your server gets rooted by a hacker, every security professional worth his money will tell you to wipe it and do a complete reinstall. There is no way to clean up the system without that where you can be certain that there's not a backdoor left somewhere you didn't look.

    This is the same, just in hardware.

  • Re:Saving face? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @04:54AM (#46127031)

    Who can stop them?



    All of us together.

    If they kill all of us, they won't have anyone to make their tea.


  • by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @05:09AM (#46127049) Journal

    Yes, let us NOW close the barn doors after the cats have escaped.....that will stop the cats from escaping!

    From my view(USA), the U.K. seems to be following in our footsteps with afterburners engaged.

    I remember when everyone was claiming computers would make life easier. LOL! Paperless offices FTW!
    (don't misunderstand; I like computers and networks, but from the beginning, I have always questioned the implementation of them as it occurred...one of the reasons why I don't own a cell phone, and studied networking so I could protect some of my privacy, just as I studied driving a vehicle before driving)

    The cat is out of the bag/barn door, the best thing for the gov't.s involved is to admit it and make acceptable changes, but don't hold your breath waiting.

    The question now is:
    Do we fight this crap, or grease up our bungholes and take like a good consumer?(we are no longer citizens or customers...just livestock consuming the crap corp.'s and their bitches(gov't) shovel out.

    If you use the term 'consumer' for anything outside of eating and drinking, or physically using something to depletion, then you are part of the problem by accepting this crap.

    Consume various media?
    I have NEVER eaten or drank an music or video file, I've watched/listened to them, and THEY ARE STILL THERE! So I could not have consumed them.

    This may seem like an offtopic rant, but the brainwash mentality is what makes this crap work.

    We have gotten into a mindset from this tactic that makes this shite easier to swallow, because we get used to swallowing shite. We have forgotten how to find out for ourselves, we WANT the 10 second soundbite because we are too busy swallowing the shite, to fit in with our shite swallowing peers.

    I personally am too old, broken down, and poor to start the needed coup, but will gladly join in if it ever happens.

    Here in the USA 20 years ago, if what happened under Bush jr.'s reign happened then, I would have started(or at least attempted) another revolution...strictly out of patriotic feelings for the oath I took to defend the Constitution of the USA, and Dubya and company would have been first against the wall to be shot as a traitor to the Constitution I pledged to uphold against enemies foreign and domestic.

    Apparently, my peers are happy to have the following generations buggered, and now it's showing up.

    In retrospect, I would include Obama and co. for not doing away with all of Bush/Cheney's constitutional violations.

    As it stands, I will do everything within my power and ability to train and educate the younger generations to combat this crap.

    Note to self: Quit posting when drinking!
      I meant everything above, but focus and eloquence decline severely when drinking!

    Apologies if I sound like some butthurt old geezer, but I am one, due to the 'War on Drugs', 'War on terrorism', War on this', War on that', alcohol is my only outlet short of ending up on the evening news as some nutjob taken out by the local SWAT Team. :-)

    OK, now all of you all, get off my lawn!
    *chugs bottle of Geritol*

  • Re:Saving face? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01, 2014 @05:39AM (#46127113)

    Given its history, I think of the US Constitution as more a statement of good intent than any sort of iron clad protection or inalienable rights.

    I mean, pretty well EVERY time the US has been stressed (by war, by politics, by circumstances) the Constitution and its amendments have been set aside, only for the Supreme Court or whatever to revisit the situation 10 or 20 years down the track (long after the damage has been done) to reinstate said rights and privileges ... after which everybody apologizes to those so affected, and the next breach of the Constitution occurs.

    The point is that unless such laws are rigorously enforced (and if they were Edward Snowden would be immune from prosecution, the Nisei would never have been imprisoned, McCarthyisim wouldn't have been able to conduct its witchhunts, and hundreds of other breaches of th Constitution wouldn't have occurred over the last 2 centuries), and unless the US Court system is immune to political and social realities and enforces the Constitution literally, dogmatically and as a semantic problem ... then these breaches will regularly occur, the rights of US individuals will regularly be trampled on (as is the case with the CONTINUING NSA breaches) and the Constitution will essentially mrerley be a statement of good intent.

  • Re:Saving face? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01, 2014 @05:50AM (#46127131)

    You'll note that the US government has not dared to even suggest censoring the New York Post.

    Whist you will notice that the UK government has not dared to suggest that reading the newspaper might cause you to lose your security clearance. Both equally stupid.

  • by tinkerton ( 199273 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @07:11AM (#46127363)

    No actually, having a journalistic intermediary that does vetting and filtering is a better approach. One of the -false- accusations against wikileaks was their undiscriminate leaking of classified documents.

  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Saturday February 01, 2014 @08:25AM (#46127545) Journal

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

    If you can recover the data overwritten 50 times, then you also can recover the data overwritten 49 times (that is, the first set of data you've overwritten the original data with), the data overwritten 48 times (that is, the second set of data you've overwritten it with), the data overwritten 47 times, the data overwritten 46 times ... and you'd have to be able to distinguish between them. which means that on a 500 gigabyte hard disk, you'd be able to recover 25 terabytes of data. I strongly doubt that this is possible.

  • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <.plugwash. .at. .p10link.net.> on Saturday February 01, 2014 @09:22AM (#46127715) Homepage

    But for completely different reasons what you think, its because:
    - your drive might be faulty so the overwrite is actually not performed

    A related one:

    The drive may remap some sectors because they are failing, it may be very difficult to ensure that all the physical sectors are overwritten and not just all the logical sectors.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.