Kremlin's Anti-Leak Strategy: Typewriters?

Security officials order $15K worth of low-tech machines

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 12, 2013 1:44 AM CDT | Updated Jul 12, 2013 6:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – With leaks and surveillance concerns flooding the international community, Russia's got a not-so-high-tech defense system: The Kremlin is using typewriters. Security officials are set to spend more than $15,000 on the machines, says an insider. Following news of WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, and "reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened in on during his visit to the G20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents," the source tells a Russian paper, per the Telegraph.

Key communications to Vladimir Putin and the defense minister arrive on paper, the source notes. "From the point of view of preserving secrets, the most primitive methods are preferable: a person’s hand and a pen, or a typewriter," a former security boss adds. What's more, typewriters each carry a unique pattern, allowing documents to be traced back to individual machines. USA Today and the Guardian are also carrying the typewriter story, but RT says it's much ado about not much: A security source notes that typewriter usage is nothing new among the country's special services. The new batch is being ordered simply because "the time came" to renew the machines.

Russia is rumored to be using typewriters to avoid leaks.
Russia is rumored to be using typewriters to avoid leaks.   (Shutterstock)
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