Spy Museum in Washington DC by Creative commons
Last February as Luke Harding was writing a book on Edward Snowden, in front of his eyes the lines on his Word page began to self-delete at rapid speed. Since he is English, he assumed that the culprit was GCHQ, the UK spy agency. This story was front-page news in all eight of London's newspapers. In the Guardia n, he wrote:
"I wrote that Snowden's revelations had damaged US tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish. When I tried to close my OpenOffice file the keyboard began flashing and bleeping.
Over the next few weeks these incidents of remote deletion happened several times. There was no fixed pattern but it tended to occur when I wrote disparagingly of the NSA."
Yesterday, as I was completing a seven-page article that took me over a week to write, the words suddenly started to self-delete - at lightning speed. I was not touching the keyboard at the time, so I knew it was not my error. I shut the computer down as quickly as I could, but it was too late. The NSA had deleted all drafts and saved files relating to it. There was nothing on the clipboard, in the backup or the recycle bin. Tomorrow I will contact my Congressman and request that the House open an investigation into this totally illegal practice.
In the future I will write all articles in longhand and submit them through an agent. Am I angry? You bet.
(Article changed on September 30, 2014 at 22:14)