Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK Government Destroys Guardian's Snowden Drives

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,29 days | from the and-then-the-internet dept.

United Kingdom 508

An anonymous reader writes with revelations that the UK government has been pressuring the Guardian over its publication of the Snowden leaks for a while, and that it ultimately ended with GHCQ officials smashing drives of data to pieces. From the article: "The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: 'You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.' ... 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." The paper had repeatedly pointed out how pointless destroying the data was: copies exist, and all reporting on the Snowden leaks is already being edited and published from locations other than the UK.

cancel ×

508 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Good! (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614569)

With the drives destroyed, and the leaks plugged, we can all get back to our normal lives under the new heightened levels of paranoia.

Re: Good! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614617)

... thus solving the problem once and for all!

But

ONCE AND FOR ALL!

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614735)

Yep, sounds like what they wanted was a quick, symbolic victory, and they got it.

Symbolizing what, though, will be the topic of many a journal article. I suppose it's a good time to be a journalist, if people are jumping up and down to help you make news?

Re:Good! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614881)

There is no better way to motivate a journalist than to tell them that they aren't allowed to to report on something. I mean, seriously, what do these governments think they are going to accomplish. Whistleblowers leak information because they are worried about a surveillance state. And journalists investigate things because they want to find a cover-up. Cranking down on the surveillance state and forcing a cover-up is only going to make them redouble their efforts. And since information can be mirrored around the world in seconds, what could they possibly accomplish? The number of whistleblowers willing to give information to reporters looking for a big story has just exploded, thanks to the kneejerk damage control response.

In other news, another whistleblower has anonymously leaked information on PROTON, CLEARWATER and LEXIS-NEXIS, US government programs that are used to data-mine contacts for intelligence and criminal prosecutions because the government wanted to cover-up how they were getting probable cause to investigate DEA actions (with the bullshit DICE program). Read it and weep [cryptome.org] .

Re:Good! (4, Funny)

whoever57 (658626) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615051)

There is no better way to motivate a journalist than to tell them that they aren't allowed to to report on something. I mean, seriously, what do these governments think they are going to accomplish.

Probably about the same as the senior officer of the Met who spent a day travelling to and from the Grauniad's Manchester offices in order to tell an editor that there was nothing in the stories of phone hacking by News International. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to go out of your way to tell a reporter that there is no story and expect the reporter to drop it?

Liveleak (5, Interesting)

Daas (620469) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614573)

And we've been wondering what that 350 GB "insurance file" from WikiLeaks was...

Re:Liveleak (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44615063)

A publicity stunt. If WikiLeaks had the files, they would have gone public the next with as many as they could vet, and they wouldn't have been as responsible or through as the guardian. Also the timing on that is wrong, they posted that file ages ago.

Not pointless at all (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614575)

The point was crystal clear: the friend of my enemy will get no end of crap thrown at them. The Grauniad can expect more such visits in the future, as well as any other news organization who dares publish That Which Must Not Be Published.

Re:Not pointless at all (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614609)

Bravo on what is easily the most mangled spelling of Guardian in the history of the English language.

Re:Not pointless at all (5, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614637)

An AC who has obviously never read Private Eye...

Re:Not pointless at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614659)

Sounds more like a historical epic that way though. Kids all having to read The Grauniad in history class in the future.

Re:Not pointless at all (1)

zugmeister (1050414) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614795)

He was using the handle "plover" but in real life he's actually Charles Dikkens spelled with two Ks, the well-known Dutch author.

Re:Not pointless at all (1)

Mathinker (909784) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614899)

Bravo (<sarc/>) to the UK for what is easily the most mangled libel laws of the entire globe!

Re:Not pointless at all (1)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614725)

The point was crystal clear: the friend of my enemy will get no end of crap thrown at them. The Grauniad can expect more such visits in the future, as well as any other news organization who dares publish That Which Must Not Be Published.

This.
Comming from the epic saga of "Your tax money at work".

Re:Not pointless at all (1)

bfandreas (603438) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615039)

And another earth-shattering revelation from the GCHQ:
They don't only employ eggheads! They also have jobs for powertripping knuckle-draggers, too! A proper equal opportunity employer.

Small Potatoes (3, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614579)

The U.K. thinks it can join the fascism club just because it smashes a computer or two?

The U.S. arrested a filmmaker a year ago just for making a movie. Are those reporters in jail? Don't think so. You're going to have the step up the game U.K. to join the big boys.

Bonus points for all the cameras though.

Re:Small Potatoes (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614681)

The U.S. arrested a filmmaker a year ago just for making a movie.

Who? What movie? What was the context?

Re:Small Potatoes (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614699)

He is referring to the creator of the "Innocence of Muslims" youtube movie. He was arrested for parole violations, and in fact was arrested only after voluntarily turning himself in because he feared for his safety.

Re:Small Potatoes (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44615025)

Hey hey. Don't let the truth get in the away of America bashing.

Context (5, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614721)

Story about the arrest. [latimes.com]

Note they claim his video ignited muslim protests, when in fact it was a coordinated attack on embassies including Benghazi...

His video had nothing to do with it, but he made a great scapegoat for the embarrassed state department. Now that we know it was terrorists and not a protest, he's out of prison. How odd.

Re:Context (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614931)

You might be confused about the timeline.
His original arrest was for bank fraud and identity theft.
While he was out on parole, he made the movie you're referencing.
While making the movie, he violated the terms of his probation and got himself re-arrested & re-jailed.

You're right that "he made a great scapegoat for the embarrassed state department"
The truth about Benghazi is that the CIA was both:
1. Helping get weapons to the Syrian rebels and
2. Trying to stop the Syrian rebels from getting anti-aircraft weapons.

Re:Small Potatoes (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614717)

The U.K. thinks it can join the fascism club just because it smashes a computer or two?

The U.S. arrested a filmmaker a year ago just for making a movie.

Are you talking about Nakoula Basseley aka Sam Bacile? [wikipedia.org]

He got busted for violating the terms of his probation, pled guilty to 4 charges, and accepted 1 year in jail + 5 years of probation.
I don't think this is the example you should have used.

Re:Small Potatoes (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614797)

Don't bother, SuperKendall is a Benghazi truther.

You want the truth? You can't handle... etc. (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614945)

Don't bother, SuperKendall is a Benghazi truther.

Truther is a term used for some idiot who believes 9/11 was the result of aliens, bad diarrhea or a massive government conspiracy by a government so stupid it sent machine huns to mexican drug lords just to see what would happen.

With Benghazi, it was obvious it was a terrorist attack from the start but the government blamed a video for scores of deaths and embassy attacks. Every reporter on earth along with the public now knows it was a terrorist attack, and that the state department knew it was at the time. Most people now know also they let people die there because they didn't want any hiccups in the undergoing operation to ship 400 Libyan missiles to Syria... but that's a story for another day.

It says much that your weak attempt at spin comes not from anyone real, but a nameless AC who tries to pretend something that everyone knew long ago was discredited... and as I said the guy is out of jail so it's pretty obvious he was just in jail when it was handy. Which he says himself...

Post away AC. But your attempt to deflect real truth with a weak protest that the most obvious thing is not true, holds little weight among people who can think and/or read.

Re:You want the truth? You can't handle... etc. (1)

cusco (717999) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615055)

Machine huns? Damn, the original Huns were bad enough when they were just mounted on horseback, now they're mechanized? :-)

Well, you know what they say... (4)

dyingtolive (1393037) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614601)

You can't stop the signal, Mal.

Re:Well, you know what they say... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614683)

what we're finding now though is if you cant stop the signal, simply increase the noise and it amounts to the same thing.

Wow nice... (5, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614603)

They pretty much ensured that data dumping will ensue, on levels never before seen. It's going to be pretty damned interesting considering that Greenwald is a hell of a leftist, and is railing like never before.

Re:Wow nice... (1, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614687)

Personally I hope someone sues over destruction of personal property.

Re:Wow nice... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614789)

Greenwald was actually pretty libertarian/non political, but as a constitutional law litigator, he got sick of what he felt were a series of abuses by the prior and then current administration post 9/11. The truth is that most whistleblowers are generally conservative.

Re:Wow nice... (2)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614841)

Yes, it's exactly the stupidest thing they could possibly do, with the possible exception of burning all issues of The Guardian for the next week or two.

But thugs just can't resist being thugs, just like snakes can't resist being snakes. Sure, there are copies, but that's all the more reason to smash this drive to smithereens.

Re:Wow nice... (1)

jovius (974690) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615023)

Maybe it's time to grow up from the arbitrary divisions like left and right?

Wow... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614605)

The UK is such a fucking authoritarian dictatorship.

The only difference is you get to vote which dictator you want to fuck up the country even further.

Fuck the UK!

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614811)

Greenwald for PM, eh?
Baah-hah-hah-hah-hah!!!

Amazing (5, Insightful)

xQx (5744) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614611)

It really is amazing that we (ANZUS+UK+Canada) can lecture the rest of the world about the virtues and freedoms of democracy, chastise China for censoring the Internet and making up economic figures and pass laws like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (mandating whistle-blowing for corporations); while we are so openly censoring our "free" press.

I do expect a certain level of hypocrisy and self-serving behavior from our governments, but am I alone in noticing this has really stepped up a notch recently?

Re:Amazing (4, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614663)

Australia and the UK have never really had free speech provisions.
If Her Majesty so requests, she is more than capable of instructing her secret agents to trample on anyone at any time for saying anything.

(Not saying that she did, or anything....but if she did, she sure as hell wouldn't want anyone to find out!)

This is the price we pay for having a benevolent dictator who allows us a democracy.

Re:Amazing (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614777)

Yeah my copy of the Australian constitution is amazingly short on detail beyond "The Queen may allow...".

Re:Amazing (2)

aliquis (678370) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614891)

Let's all move to Iceland.

Maybe one should write new ones.

1) You've got the right to be you.

2) You've got the right to speak.

3) You've got the right to think.

3a) You've got the right to think that others shouldn't have the right to think, speak or be themself.
2a) You've even got the right to express how you don't think others don't have the right to think, speak or be themself.
1a) However, don't assume that any of the shit mentioned in 3a or 2a matters and if you'd even try to enforce that then fuck you.

There. Short, simple and efficient.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614913)

Guess I should had written point 1a somewhat different but it's late and I should sleeve <3ish hour.

Re:Amazing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614959)

Let's all move to Iceland.

Uh huh, that's like putting 50 Jews in a Volkswagen.

That's a volcano joke. Let's see if any of you pick up on it without having a stick up your ass...

Re:Amazing (1)

xQx (5744) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615013)

Is it because they have big noses?

Re:Amazing (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615029)

Australia had its own day of 'cleansing' over a book, Axis of Deceit.
http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FN16J6%22 [aph.gov.au]
"...then watched them do it with a special little disk-breaking hammer. They graciously followed up this service with a customer satisfaction form"
".... also had their hard drives cleansed around early September 2004, several months after the amended book had gone on sale"

Re:Amazing (4, Interesting)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614751)

I like to think that, in Canada, there is a large enough percentage of us who really lose our shit whenever we get even a hint that something oppressive or corrupt is going down.

I mean, a senator and high ranking official just lost their jobs because of ... wait for it ... $90,000 of questionable expenses. It was a huge deal and all over the news here. US government officials wipe their asses with that kind of money and nobody blinks.

Re:Amazing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614843)

And yet you voted Paul Harper back for another go-round? Oh well. It isn't good that Scott Walker is not on the media radar currently, so maybe that is 2016 for the US.

Re:Amazing (2, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614761)

The world is a big place with a lot happening.

China Admits Selling Prisoners’ Organs [go.com]

As far as things being "stepped up a notch recently" ... that also applies to the massive theft of state secrets of multiple countries which are being distributed like party favours to one and all, including enemies and adversaries. (When you make something available without discrimination, your enemies and adversaries get it too.)

There are people out there just waiting to exploit that sort of information to slip by unnoticed: Al-Qaeda 'targeting European rail network' [france24.com]

Things will get figured out in some form eventually.

Re:Amazing (1)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614907)

The world is a big place with a lot happening.

China Admits Selling Prisoners’ Organs [go.com]

And this is relevant to the current topic... exactly how?
(unless the topic is somehow the world's hypocritical pissing championship and I failed to see it as such).

Because of the original idiotic comparison (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615035)

A popular thing here on /. which the original poster did is to turn any story either about China doing something bad, or the US doing something bad in to a "Oh look at how bad the US is, they can't say anything to China!" or "OMG the US is worth than China/Russia, they are more free!" Or equally stupid shit like that.

In no way is China relevant to this. What's more, the idea that only if a nation is perfect that it could level any criticism at another is completely ludicrous.

It is just spin, just crap to try and hate on the US and allies for no particular reason. So the GP had a good point: China does some pretty bad shit, things that even the imperfect countries that are the UK and US might have an issue with.

If people want discussions of the problems with western governments to stay on topic, something I think is a good idea, then the first step is to stop dragging in China et al at every opportunity. What the US, UK, etc do is good or bad, right or wrong, regardless of what they say to China, regardless of how they compare to China, etc.

If you want to start playing the "compare and contrast" game, well then don't be surprised when others come back in kind.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614929)

As far as things being "stepped up a notch recently" ... that also applies to the massive theft of state secrets of multiple countries which are being distributed like party favours to one and all, including enemies and adversaries.

Here is a translation of your above bullshit for those who might not be clever enough to see
through your weasel-word attempts at propaganda :

Recently, various governments have been caught engaging in flagrant abuses and
now those governments are very nervous indeed because they know that their people
are not going to tolerate such abuses. Of course they have all read their Machiavelli,
so they assume that force and intimidation are the best methods to use. In so doing they
are doing what amounts to pouring gasoline on a fire.

Re:Amazing (5, Insightful)

shadowofwind (1209890) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614803)

From my standpoint the degree of dishonesty hasn't increased, events have just made it a bit more obvious to many of us than it has been at other times in the past.

People in the US were crowing about freedom back when blacks were still getting lynched for seeking basic civil rights. I could go on with numerous other examples, from every period. The pretexts for abuse are more obviously lies at some times than at others, but always they are largely pretexts.

I'm not saying that the US is worse than other countries, and its a lot better than a great many. But there has been a persistent fascist streak from the beginning.

Re:Amazing (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614845)

Yeah, I've been kind of wondering about this for a while myself. Are things really worse today than they used to be? Or have things always been more or less the same and we are just more aware of it because of the Internet's prevalence?

In either case, we desperately need to work towards more openness and freedom.

Re:Amazing (1)

kermidge (2221646) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614885)

When I read the story the term "bloody-minded" arose; a term coined, I think, just to describe the Brits.

Safe House. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614633)

The funny thing is how "safe" Brazil is compared to the first world.

Re:Safe House. (1)

no-body (127863) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614713)

Doesn't need to be - just needs to be in opposition to what their internal string-pullers perceive as bullies (US) and be pissed about all the snooping on them being disclosed.

Still BR is not considering giving Snowden asylum.

Time to move data centers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614639)

Government agents smashing your data, and backups, to bits is now something that happens. I suspect many multinational corporations ate going to be rethinking their hosting strategies. Having the government spy on your business data is one thing. Having them come in with sledgehammers and destroy it is something else entirely.

Pxe boot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614641)

If you run a news agency just pxe boot from various remote sites that way $government/corp thugs get their touchy smashy feel good, and you keep your data......... its win win........ or something

Re:Pxe boot? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614773)

PXE only works across ethernet. There are ways to book remotely off a WAN but another way to work is to use a remote desktop or just an ssh session. You would want to have multiple copies of the data in places like Iceland (hmmm can I work on them in Eve?) and just connect when you want access to bits of it.

torrents? (1)

monzie (729782) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614645)

Isn't it safe to assume that the data would already have distributed to n number of people via torrents? If so, this action is totatlly pointless and shows their desparation.

Re:torrents? (1)

fnj (64210) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614715)

Desperation -> perversity, cussedness.

Re:torrents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614759)

It just shows how ignorant and technically inept officals in charge are. In my experience growing up there and going through various IT classes from high school to university, most of the UK doesn't really understand technology or how to use it, even those in charge of teaching it are either out dated or pretend to know more then they actually do.

Time to dox everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614647)

Before the spooks find your offsite backups, put it all on the world's best data backup and redundancy system: bittorrent.

Loss of an opportunity (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614661)

There's every chance they had good reason to act as they did but from the outside, to me, it seems like this was a wasted opportunity. Had they forced the government to bring them to trial it would have brought shone more light on both the NSA story and the problem of the erosion of freedom of the press.

  Had The Guardian won, they would have the added benefit of setting some precedent for their countrymen.

Had they lost, we would at least know where we stand in terms of press freedom; better, in my mind, than the present situation, in which the rules don't seem to be fixed and government power is arbitrarily applied.

Saying the data is copied somewhere else seems like an avoidance of the principle of the matter.

Official Secrets Act? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614671)

I wonder if the Guardian et al. are in danger of running afoul of the Official Secrets Act? [wikipedia.org]

This would be cause for concern: "The Official Secrets Act 1989 (c. 6) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that repeals and replaces section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, thereby removing the public interest defence created by that section."

That law has some teeth of it, if it applies.

Re:Official Secrets Act? (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614819)

The UK has a lot of teeth in a lot of laws, for having a "gun" with you, for reading banned material online and if they so wish the full use of the Official Secrets Act.
The problem for the UK is the optics and methods of the Official Secrets Act.
If you use it in a sealed court setting, you admit you have a "spy" like situation and need a top cleared legal team. Any person facing that system is by default be facing a Star Chamber and gather world wide sympathy and much legal UK interest spins up fast.
If its in an open court, the defence and press goes to work on every detail and method. All in the open again over years. A situation most UK govs seem to want to avoid at any cost.
So you never "running afoul" of the Official Secrets Act. It is a legal tool to welcome staff into the system with a nice clearance level and hints at years in jail.
The UK would rather use other methods - if your connected to power/gov - no trial, pension but no more talking/leaks.
If your connected to codes/methods but have few friends - a public trial on other topics..
Other non court methods are also very legal in the UK.

Re:Official Secrets Act? (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614837)

Are US secrets covered by the UKs official secrets act?

Re:Official Secrets Act? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614969)

officially no, but unofficially it's a secret.

Re:Official Secrets Act? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614867)

I wonder if the Guardian et al. are in danger of running afoul of the Official Secrets Act? [wikipedia.org]

Seriously, what is your reason for posting your bootlicking fascist views here ? No one on Slashdot
wants to hear your pro-government bullshit.

Re:Official Secrets Act? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614991)

Verrrry interestink! Makes me think the info isn't really all that important. More of an indirect 'press release' with high drama to get everybody's attention. You know, sex it up a little. My god, it's genius!

Ooh ooh me too (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614675)

Ars already covered this, and wording sure sounds familiar. No wonder OP posted as AC.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/08/uk-agents-seeking-to-stop-leaks-destroyed-the-guardians-hard-drives/

Protection costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614677)

Next time they roll around asking for there take to keep the neighborhood safe you should pay up bro

Not even government is this incompetent (5, Insightful)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614679)

They know there are offsite backups. This was intimidation, pure and simple.

Re:Not even government is this incompetent (1)

fnj (64210) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614733)

Correct and insightful. Ding ding ding ding.

Media is in the business of making money (2, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614689)

The media gets dozens, hundreds, of documents. They slowly release them one or two at a time. Why? Not to make them easier for the public to digest. Not because they need to spend time reviewing them, writing articles, or gather sources. Not even because they enjoy being the gatekeepers of desired information.

No. This is almost entirely about making money and a major ego trip. The writers enjoy getting off on being the center of a public spectacle. You put a few articles out a week and you get more viewers. You keep stringing everyone along and keep those numbers up for more advertising revenue and to try to attract more subscribers. You keep your own name in the papers and get a higher profile for a book release. That's what this game is all about. Snowden leaked his information to people who are using it as leverage to manufacture news.

The reporters that Snowden contacted could easily release everything tomorrow. Total transparency. It would eliminate them being part of the story. But they get off on the attention. Glenn Greenwald wants to BE THE STORY. We've seen this repeatedly with Assange who comments on himself as often as he comments on the news. They don't want to report on some of the most relevant news and whistleblowing in the last decade. This is a chance for Greedwald to make a lot of money, a low of news appearances, some Real Time with Bill Maher, and maybe even a Howard Stern Show appearance. If he releases all of the documents then he's no longer important. His ego can't take that.

I know at Slashdot that people are upset when the news media focuses on Snowden and Greenwald not the major revelations that Snowden has given us regarding the U.S. government's total war on privacy. But this is not new territory for Greenwald. He loves being the center of attention. Look at his news appearances regarding this case. He talks about himself and his involvement far too much in my opinion.

I think that the U.S. citizenry has a right to know about the government's war on privacy. Show us everything. Be transparent the way Obama said he would be when he campaigned. Let us judge. Stop being the gatekeepers of information that you don't have a right to hide from us like the government did. Enough of the games. I can't take anyone in the media seriously anymore. If Greenwald and Snowden want less attention then give the world the information to help people combat the government's overreach.

Re:Media is in the business of making money (5, Interesting)

Laxori666 (748529) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614909)

Actually I think it's definitely better to do a slow-release. Snowden may even be planning it this way. Think about it: if it's released all at once, who the fuck is going to go through thousands of documents to see what the gov is up to? Plus once the story is out it'll be forgotten within a few weeks. This way it's constantly in the news, people are always talking about it, it remains in people's minds, and the findings are summarized to make it easier to understand what is really going on. Good stuff, I say.

Re:Media is in the business of making money (5, Insightful)

washort (6555) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614933)

The really nice thing about releasing documents a few at a time is you have so many more opportunities to directly contradict the official reaction to the previous release. Dump 'em all at once and the government gets much more opportunity to control the narrative.

Re:Media is in the business of making money (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44615059)

For better or for worse, all of the people involved are making a serious attempt to prevent the publication of information that would directly lead to the persecution of sources, deaths of intelligence people currently in the field, whatever. It doesn't always work out (especially when some idiot releases the encryption key) but that's the only reason why they aren't all just released in a big lump. They could do so and still report on it.

(More than one reason they're doing it, I grant you. They want to be Good People, and they also want to try and ease things back toward reasonability without a huge fascist crackdown.)

Rather pointless theater (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614723)

Was that rather pointless and incompetent theater supposed to impress someone? I doubt the Guardian has been cowed by destruction of at most a few thousand dollars of equipment. And it shows that the UK is in bed with the US with this sort of spying.

It is sad to see the UK ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614743)

It is sad to see the UK ... once with its own Empire ... being reduced to a mere minion of the United States of America, but this is what it has come to. With the pinning of Assange in an embassy, holding a journalist with a mere association with Snowden under terrorism legislation, and now bullying news papers to destroy computer equipment -- however futile this might be -- can it be any clearer that once proud and independant Great Britian is now just another bitch of the American government? I don't think so...

Lovely Greenwald (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614749)

I love the Greenwald quote in the NYT a few days ago: "You feel you are empowered for the first time because there’s this mammoth system that you try and undermine and subvert and shine a light on..." (emphasis added)

Poor choice of words for a mere reporter, wouldn't you say? If I was in government security, I'd be after him even without Snowden.

UK HATES APPLE MACBOOK PROS! (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614779)

They destroyed data there was copies to, so the only point they could be making must have been that they believe that Apple Macbook Pros are terrorists!

Zoolander clowns (4, Insightful)

danceswithtrees (968154) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614781)

...joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

Anyone else think of the scene in Zoolander? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze3hthGRbRo [youtube.com]

Did they really destroy a functional computer to destroy the drive? Could they not have removed the hard drive and destroyed just those parts that have any persistent data retention? Even including the optical drive would have been overkill-- eject the disk. What was the purpose of destroying perfectly good hardware? Just to be sure? Why not steam roller the remains and then incinerate them in an induction furnace? Where they worried about a secret compartment? Notes scribbled on the inside? What a bunch of clowns.

Re:Zoolander clowns (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614835)

Are you asking about the movie or about Greenwald's computer? In real life, it was the hard drives that were decimated. Welcome to the real world.

Re:Zoolander clowns (2)

danceswithtrees (968154) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614993)

Are you asking about the movie or about Greenwald's computer? In real life, it was the hard drives that were decimated. Welcome to the real world.

Did you read the summary or the referenced article? Both make reference to "sweeping up the remains of a MacBook Pro." If they had destroyed only the hard drive(s), it would be unusual to refer to the remains of a hard drive as the "remains of a MacBook Pro." Don't you think? Perhaps taking some journalistic license to make it more interesting perhaps? Maybe.

I would like to think that the government officials are rational beings exercising their powers rationally but their actions make this a dubious assumption. Yes, this is the real world we live in. What point was there to physically destroying the drives when the information on them had already been copied? Does this sound rational? Perhaps that is why I had an easy time believing they would be capable of destroying the entire computer.

GCHQ = pointless display of powerlessness ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614783)

All this behavior on the part of GCHQ is evidence of nothing so
much as a state of panic on the part of stupid people who
want to retain power they no longer deserve because they
have ABUSED that power.

The British "empire" is now nothing more than a couple of
islands with shitty weather, inhabited by people who have bad
teeth and no guns. Pathetic is the word that comes to mind when
one witnesses such has-been empires grasping at the shreds of
the power they once had.

Thanks for the laughs, you GCHQ fuckwit bootlickers.

Backoff USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614825)

Despite the need for the people in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA to rebell and overthrow their governments, it's well and truly time that the USA back the fuck off and leave the rest of the world alone.

Re:Backoff USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614901)

Go fuck yourself. The UK government did this, and while it may have been at the behest of the US government, don't think for a minute that the former has a more lax approach to spillage. Every government with an IT infrastructure of any appreciable size would request the same, and anyone wanting to stay on good terms would oblige.

If you're looking for somebody to blame, then blame the spy who perjured himself by falsifying information and lying to gain access to classified data that he could then sell abroad. How about that asshole, huh? Selling data he had no rights to and causing all this trouble for an otherwise respectable newspaper? Personal accountability?

No, I'm sure anarchy is the answer. Please don't breed.

Re:Backoff USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614985)

Go fuck yourself.

Big words ( above ) from a keyboard wannabe badass who probably has
never been in an actual fight in his entire insignificant wannabe life.

Snowden was not a spy, he was and IS a whistleblower who accomplished
more in a few days than you will in your entire useless existence. I won't
bother telling _you_ to go fuck yourself, because from what you wrote above it
is laughably obvious that you have already done that.

Re:Backoff USA (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615001)

If you're looking for somebody to blame, then blame the spy who perjured himself by falsifying information and lying to gain access to classified data that he could then sell abroad. How about that asshole, huh? Selling data he had no rights to and causing all this trouble for an otherwise respectable newspaper? Personal accountability?

I do not recall reading anything that Snowden sold the data. Source?

Inspiring (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614853)

So, basically, guys who are apparently stupid enough to think this actually accomplished anything are the ones we're supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to when they say they're adequately protecting our data when they vacuum everything up?

No wonder they say they need to gather up every available piece of data they can - they're not bright enough to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Break a HDD? Burn a book. (2)

penandpaper (2463226) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614863)

Good old fashioned book burning internet style. Less flame but just as fun.

Blame Snowden (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614865)

He's the one who sold you information that he had no legal claim to. You knew the risks when you bought obviously classified data with the intent to violate that classification. This is how data leaks are handled -- if I were to accidentally plug a portable hard drive into a SIPR machine, even if no data transfer took place, that hard drive is considered classified, and must be handled as such, up to and including physical destruction. It's not gestapo... it's bureaucracy.

As far as "it's pointless" goes, well... you can blame your friend Snowden for that, too. He's said repeatedly that the information made public so far is only the tip of the iceberg, so any investigating official has to assume the worst about what stores of data you have. Any storage device even remotely linked to the scandal must be treated as though it contains all the information he had access to, thanks entirely to his big mouth.

So, stop blaming our government and your government for your foolishness in associating with unapologetic spies. What you didn't do to yourself knowing full-well the consequences, Snowden did to you after the fact. Anything else is just narcissism, and should be treated as such.

Thank god for microSD... (4, Insightful)

nbritton (823086) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614919)

Utterly stupid. It's trivial to hide a microSD card, all you need is AES encryption and Saran Wrap. Just stash it under a rock, or up a tree, or in a hotel room. You've got 57 million square miles to choose from.

Air Gapped (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614921)

In the NYT article about Poitras and Greenwald's initial contact with Snowden [nytimes.com] there is mention of the use of, "air gapped" computers. At first it struck me as odd, but knowing that everything transmitted over the internet is tracked and that MAC addresses can reasonably be used to identify specific hardware, it no longer qualifies as paranoid to suspect that nearly any computer that's ever passed an IP packet could be singled out by some claiming to have been sent by the government just to help you.

The Guardian article indicates that the lack of a constitution renders this type of situation something from which UK subjects have little protection, implying that you're safer in the US. Apparently after Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, the new & improved FISA courts and the I Have a Drone program, anyone who believes they are protected by a 225 year-old historical work might be forced to seek medical advice for their own personal intracranial air gap.

Re:Air Gapped (2)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614947)

MAC addresses are invisible after the first router, unless you use IPv6 with insecure settings. So, no, they cannot be used without breaking into things.

Re:Air Gapped (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44615043)

Some companies such as Xilinx attach the license for their softwares to the different MAC of the interfaces it detects in your system.

That would be a shame if someone, say the NSA, could just look around in those kinds of databases.

Your physical computer linked to your real identity, for like... ever.

Well they almost certainly do already.

One reason the surveillance is a problem (1)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614937)

It is done by morons! They can do untold damage without even intending to, as they apparently have zero clue about IT security.

How do you say... (1)

vomitology (2780489) | 1 year,29 days | (#44614941)

"Thank goodness for AppleCare+" in Russian?

Lord inbred (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,29 days | (#44614975)

strikes again...

Security experts (1)

code_monkey_steve (651206) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615007)

... with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement

"We have top men working on it now."
"Who?"
"Top ... men."

Spooks are trying to provoke an irresponsible act. (5, Interesting)

dweller_below (136040) | 1 year,29 days | (#44615031)

So far, Poitras and Greenwald have done an incredibly good job of handling the Snowden material. They have been implementing a long term, strategic, plan that seems to have 2 goals:
  • * Restore the US Constitutional limits on the Executive branch.
  • * Make the Executive branch accountable to the Legislative and Judicial branches.

As ambitious as it seems, this level of correction has happened several times in US history. I believe that these goals can be achieved if 3 conditions are met:

  • 1) Poitras and Greenwald must succeed in maintaining public awareness of the problem.
  • 2) Poitras and Greenwald must continue to be regarded as responsible journalists.
  • 3) The Public must agree that the threat of an unbridled Executive is greater than the external threat.

So far, Poitras and Greenwald have played Obama and the US Intelligence like a hooked trout. They have skillfully countered every attempt to divert or end the discussion. It looks like they have a chance of advancing reform of the US Executive branch. They may also help bring reform to England.

But now, I think we are seeing the beginning of more strategic responses from the US Intelligence community. I suspect that they are now trying to end the discussion by re branding Poitras and Greenwald as traitorous threats. This approach worked so well with Manning and Assange. Not only did they succeed in discrediting the messenger, they also turned the messenger into an external threat. Now, they can use 'Traitors' to justify Executive excess.

I suspect that the goals of US Intelligence are now:

  • * Get Poitras and Greenwald to do an irresponsible disclosure. From the Intelligence communities viewpoint, even an immediate, complete disclosure of the Snowden material is a small price to pay in return for swift end to the discussion and discrediting the whistle-blowers.
  • * Or create an irresponsible disclosure of the Snowden material. Remember, neither Manning nor Assange/WikiLeaks did the big, irresponsible disclosure. But, they were blamed when it happened. On considering this objective, it seems to me that the primary objective of the Miranda incident may have been to acquire the secret key of the distributed file, so they could create an irresponsible disclosure.

If they can't shutdown or re-brand Poitras and Greenwald, then I expect the next step will be to create an immediate, external threat that requires an unbridled Executive.

I am praying for Poitras and Greenwald. We need their help. And their enemies are capable of doing terrible things.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>