Security in the digital age

I was rather amazed by this piece of news from Britain that flew around Twitter last night.

British agents oversaw the destruction of an unspecified number of the Guardian newspaper’s hard drives in an apparent bid to keep the fruit of Edward Snowden’s leaks safe from Chinese spies, the paper’s editor said Monday.

Really? The physical destruction of a few drives that contain digital media means the information is now all gone and safe from spies?

Holy cow. That seems very naive. I suspect there was more than a bit of grandstanding involved in that decision. It’s fun to stomp in and smash things up. I am a little concerned that a government popped in to take care of the task for the newspaper, though.

The whole incident caused me to recall the amusing thing (likely number 4,782) that Joseph Niebler demanded when he was suing me. We had subjected ourselves to mediation. The first few minutes were unremarkable, but then the mediator stepped into the room with a typewritten list of Niebler’s demands in order to settle the suit. In addition to cash (gosh I can’t remember the amount, but it was at least $100,000) Niebler wanted to confiscate all of my home computers and have me pay for a private company to remove all the data on them pertaining to the case so it could never be published again.

Because, you know, that’s how the internet works and all.

While there were many moments of comic relief in that case (For instance: during his deposition, under oath mind you, Niebler blurted out, “I am the Dark Lord.”), that one concerning the cleaning of my computers was my favorite.

A lot of the internet is still easily compared to the start of the printing press. I didn’t need to know how a printing press worked to enjoy reading the printed results. I don’t need to know how the internet works to have access to more data than I can filter in a lifetime.

I guess that’s what Britain is counting on in their stomp and smash session. The government is betting most of the population doesn’t realize that destroying a few hard drives means nothing in terms of saving the world from those nasty Chinese spies. Methinks the act is covering for something a little more interesting that will trickle out as time goes by.

Oh, and PS – for what it’s worth I will always consider that lawsuit thing a win on my part. Sure, there’s a judgement for less than 8K filed against me. My insurance company paid everything including the very hefty legal bills. But you know what? That second round of land still legally described as The Shire subdivision will be placed under moratorium yet again tonight by the Brookfield Common Council. Of course, I had *cough, cough* nothing to do with proving the contamination that requires such very high hurdles of cure for the land to be removed from protection. But I can live with that. I don’t go all environmental very often, but that was one place where the numbers demanded someone pay attention. And so a former rocket scientist – I still really do not even know his name – did. And I listened.