Germany's typewritten plan to beat spooks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo / AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo / AP

Politicians in Germany are considering a return to manual typewriters and are playing classical music during discussions about American intelligence activities in an attempt to deter suspected CIA snoopers.

Patrick Sensburg, an MP in Angela Merkel's ruling conservative Christian Democratic Party and head of a parliamentary inquiry investigating US spying in Germany, said MPs were seriously thinking about bringing back manual typewriters to increase security.

"Of course we have to keep our internal communication secure, send encrypted emails, use encrypted telephones and other things, which I'm not going to say here," he told the ARD television channel.

When asked whether the committee members had considered swapping iPads and computers for manual typewriters, he replied: "Definitely, we have thought about using manual typewriters."

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The committee is investigating the activities of foreign intelligence agents following the spying scandal which began last year with the disclosure by Edward Snowden, the US whistleblower, that America's National Security Agency (NSA) had bugged Mrs Merkel's mobile telephone. At the weekend it emerged that MPs who sit on the committee had become so concerned that US agents might eavesdrop on their discussions that they had ordered classical music to be played during meetings.

The Suddetusche Zeitung reported that for "security reasons" during the committee session, MPs had to put their mobile telephones and computers into a large metal box to ensure that they were not subjected to outside surveillance.

"Then the committee chairman, Patrick Sensburg switched the music on," it was reported. "Edvard Grieg's piano concerto in A minor. Just for security."

Last week, Mrs Merkel's government took the unprecedented step of expelling the CIA's top official in Germany, following the arrest of two German state employees suspected of working for the CIA.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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