So the spooks of Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendientst (don’t you just love that language?) are giving up their hackable and wormable computers for good old fashioned typewriters. The standard Bundesnachrichtendienstbeamtenschreibmaschine¹ (more respect for the German language….) will henceforth grace every secure desk as Merkelland fights a rearguard action against the perfidious NSA. Their counterparts in Moscow have long been committed to typewriter and paper so it is no surprise to learn that this new security consciousness has put the German typewriter industry back on its feet. Olympia and Adler live to clack another day.
Good will come of this. I feared that mechanical typewriters would surely be extinct by 2020. Now they have a new and unexpected lease of life. Of course, all this worry is complete nonsense. Nothing could be less secure than a piece of paper now that everyone has a smartphone with scanning capabilities and when there is a photocopier in every office. We will soon be back to the good old days of Le Carre’s Smiley and the palm-held Minox, fat lot of good it would now do him.
Incidentally, the impressive-looking Qwerkywriter shown above is the spook’s nightmare rather than his salvation. It may look like grandfather’s Olivetti but it is in reality a bluetooth keyboard, suffering from the sort of transparency hated by spies. It is a lovely contraption which has already been oversubscribed on Kickstarter. You can still bag one for $289 if you’re quick (US keyboard only, nothing there for the BND spooks and their Z-loving qwertz layout). Sch**ss nochmal!