According to the Guardian, one of the reasons government sources gave for demanding the return or destruction of the Snowden files this week was that foreign agents could monitor conversations in the room using lasers.
Yes, laser-spying technology is real, but it picks up on conversations, not data that’s been disconnected from any networks, so I think GCHQ might be telling a few fibs.
Surely having the data destroyed would create cause for MORE conversation about the topic, rather than less – as you’d have to explain to colleagues what was on the files, rather than just showing them. Maybe every Guardian employee is going about their work day in complete silence this week, too scared to talk.
"NO! SHH! THE FOREIGN AGENTS ARE LISTENING!"
Shouldn’t it be GCHQ’s job to prevent foreign agents being able to spy, instead of just acknowledging they might be here watching the newspaper? Right?
Laser-spying works by bouncing a laser beam off a window or other surface that will vibrate when there are sound waves in the room. The beam is then returned to the receiver where the vibrations are converted into sound and it has even been reported that the CIA used a "laser microphone" to determine that a building in Abbottabad contained Osama bin Laden.
The newspaper did try to assure GCHQ that the files were disconnected, but that just wasn’t enough to please the government agents.
"During the meetings leading up to the destruction, one intelligence agency expert said that if there was a plastic cup in the room, a laser trained on it would be able to pick up the vibrations caused by conversation, and so eavesdrop on them. Or a laser (using non-visible light) could be bounced off a window of the room," said the Guardian.
Now, I’m not condoning any clandestine operations, but if you have the money and the time you can even build your own laser surveillance system.
The Guardian is located here:
Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU
Foreign agents have already snapped up the best spots so it might be a bit of a squeeze!