Federal Guards to Buy Typewriters to Avoid Eavesdropping

Jul. 11 2013 — 13:29
Typewriters are used in a number of special services agencies to reduce security leaks.

Following the much-publicized leaks of secret information by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Russia's Federal Guard Service has decided to revert to using typewriters to produce secret documents.

A tender to purchase 20 electric typewriters for 486,540 rubles ($15,000) was published on the government's procurement website zakupki.gov on July 3. According to the announcement, the equipment must be delivered to the special agency by Aug. 30.

The Federal Guard Service is responsible for ensuring the protection of top officials, including the president of Russia.

An unidentified source in the service told Izvestia newspaper that following reports that the NSA targeted then President Dmitry Medvedev during his visit to Britain for the Group of 20 summit in London, the agency has decided "to expand the usage of hard-copy documents."

Each of the typewriters will have its own signature, so it will be easy to trace where a particular document came from.

The revelation came as a result of a large-scale leak by Snowden, who currently finds himself stuck in extraterritorial limbo in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport while he awaits decisions on his asylum requests to different countries. A number of Latin American countries have spoken out in support of Snowden, who is trying to escape being brought to justice in the United States.

Typewriters and cipher machines were heavily used in the 20th century with the German Enigma machine being the most famous one. Breakthroughs in code-breaking techniques significantly contributed to Allied victory in World War II.

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