A destroyed MacBook Air is now on display as part of an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Wondering how it got there? Two words: Edward Snowden.
Right after The Guardian began to publish the first of Edward Snowden’s eye-opening leaks about the extent of the warrantless spying the NSA was doing on Americans, the newspaper found itself in a pickle.
The UK’s cabinet secretary, Jeremy Heywood, threatened an injunction against the newspaper, which would have revealed their source as being Snowden. Heywood said: “We can do this nicely or we can go to law… A lot of people in government think you should be closed down.”
So The Guardian‘s editors decided to do something rather dramatic: they destroyed their own computers. Here’s how The Guardian described the scene back in 2014:
New video footage has been released for the first time of the moment Guardian editors destroyed computers used to store top-secret documents leaked by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Under the watchful gaze of two technicians from the British government spy agency GCHQ, the journalists took angle-grinders and drills to the internal components, rendering them useless and the information on them obliterated.
One of those computers was a buster MacBook Air, which is now being displayed in a museum as part of a new exhibition running to July 19th called All Of This Belongs To You. The exhibition’s purpose is experimental, in which the Victoria and Albert Museum is setting out to pointedly “examine the role of public institutions in contemporary life and what it means to be responsible for a national collection,” which means experimenting with new kinds of displays.
I have to admit, this broken MacBook Air does have a certain noteworthiness in it, because of the Snowden connection. And really, if the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum can collect working Apple computers, why not put a broken one in a museum?
Source: Victoria and Albert Museum