As most of you are now aware (unless of course, you don’t have the internet, in which case, you have nothing to worry about anyway), the United States government is spying on anyone who happens to use a cell phone, or the web (which means, I sure hope that the Amish aren’t planning anything. Because not only are they un-trackable, but they have access to all the manure a bomb-maker could dream of).
Meanwhile, while Edward Snowden was engaged last month in a real life reenactment of The Terminal, it was revealed that the United State’s spying isn’t limited to lowly citizens; they’re also spying on other governments (which means they’re breaking the same law they’ve accused Edward Snowden of breaking).
In response, Russia has been trying to come up with ways to combat the United States’ spying (though haven’t they already pissed off the US enough by not instantly shooting Edward Snowden in the face? – which, if I remember correctly, is how The Terminal ends – spoiler alert).
Obviously I applaud Russia, as I too have begun to take steps to combat government spying. For instance I write all my articles in a secret code that only my editor has the key to. (Note to Editor: Remember, I’ve just shifted all the letters over five . . . meaning A is now E and so forth. Obviously, don’t publish this part or the government will figure us out!)
So, what measures are the Russian government taking? Well, one arm of their government, the Federal Guard Service (which I assume is Russian for “the Federal Guard Service”), who are in charge of Russian communications, as well as Putin’s safety, has ordered a bunch of typewriters.
That’s right, to make sure that no one can read their e-mails, they’re getting rid of e-mail altogether. As a bonus feature, even if their offices have been bugged, the United States won’t be able to hear any of their secrets due to all the loud typing.
Now this is a good first step for Russia to take (my first step was to learn Ayapaneco and use it for all my phone calls . . . except it really limits all my phone calls to the only other two people who speak Ayapaneco – and the calls are usually about how much they both hate each other), but I think Russia’s not doing enough.
Look, not sending e-mails or having any digital files is a good idea: no one can hack into a typewriter. However, is Russia forgetting about photocopiers? The second a document makes its way into the wrong hands, it can be photocopied, or even worse, scanned. In which case, all the hard work Russia has done is out the window.
No, I think if Russia really wants to avoid being spied on, it only has two viable options. Option number one, of course, is to take a page right out of the Mission: Impossible handbook – all the documents they write on the typewriters should blow up as soon as they’ve been read.
Now, obviously there’s going to be a large learning curve when they first introduce this system. You’re going to have to make sure the wrong person doesn’t read the message first, or else the message is lost to the real recipient. And, of course, there’s going to be a lot of hands blown off (perhaps work this kink out before giving the letters to Putin himself). But once the kinks are worked out, no one is getting their hands on those messages.
However, if all the explosions seem a little extreme to Russia, they have one other option: No more secrets.
Just stop having secrets. It’s like Obama’s told us, if we don’t have any secrets, then we don’t need to worry about the United States spying on us.
Failing that, Russia could just pull an Edward Snowden and hide out in an “in transit” area of its airport. Then the United States would have no way of getting to them.
Nathaniel Moher is a television writer living in Vancouver. This column first appeared in The Flying Shingle.