Digital surveillance brings typewriters back in fashion

Keeping secrets online is notoriously difficult. Data has a tendency to escape when we least want it. Many of us have been caught with a white lie, as social media posts reveal that we may not have been at home doing laundry when we didn’t want to join that meeting to plan for the boss’s birthday party, but played football instead. If you don’t have a story like that, it’s likely only a question of time. US government learned this the hard way when Wikileaks started leaking classified cables to the media. If not even the Pentagon can keep their digital secrets, then who can? In the wake of Prism, some are taking  extreme measures. Yes it sounds like something out of a cold war fiction by Frederick Forsyth, but the Kremlin has placed an order for type-writers to secure its most classified communications. It is a case of digital irony, that it sometimes brings back the old ways: look at how vinyl record sales have spiked in the wake of digital music services – or how artists are supposed to rely on concerts rather than record sales to make a living in the age of file-sharing. Digital does not replace analogue, sometimes it makes analogue more important.