Neil deGrasse Tyson’s exclusive, one-on-one conversation with Edward Snowden - via robot - concludes with a deeper dive into metadata, personal privacy and covert communications, before exploring pulsars and cosmic background radiation.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Skip the commercials support star talk on patriarch to listen to every episode, commercial free Increasing the mysteries of many questions to be answered and we find ourselves searching for those answers as the very fabric of space science and society are converging here for the first time Recently, the added to me in the brain tat goes into Grandma South Brenda get applied,
welcome to start operating under host kneeled Grass Thyssen, your personal astrophysicist. As many of you know, I also serve as the director of Europe's cities. Hating planetarium, the Frederick Piero, director is the name of my chair, and that is part of the American Museum of Natural history. Right here in New York City, you can follow start talk on twitter our talk, radio, you get all the news and buzz of what we're up to and with the shows our coming up, and also on the web. Facebook page star, talk, radio and also our own website startled
video dot net. Also, I tweet, if you're interested in my own personal cosmic brain droppings, Neil Thyssen last week on startup, broke format completely rare that we do this, but We do rest assured that something or something out of the ordinary has justified it, and you really can't more extraordinary than an exclusive interview with an international food human, a remote case robot. This is the second and final part of our special edition of a featuring my one on one conversation with none other than Edward Snowden, again not accompanied by my usual comedian, co host, there's no in studio expert. Instead we're going to listen together,
as an I share ideas about encryption privacy and what all this has to do with a basic human rights tissue missed. Last week's episode of just remind you that Ed Snowden is a c I a agent. Turned international fugitive and has been household name since two thousand and thirteen when he leaked secret documents from within. National security agency, better known as the inner say. These documents unveiled the government's Topsecret mass surveillance programmes aimed at collecting huge amounts of personal data, especially via phone records from all United States citizens. Not just the ones that were particularly suspicious
Their behaviour or activities, and this wreaked havoc in social media and made in in mainstream media, and many u s- citizens found themselves betrayed invaded by their own government. What else did by any definition of the word brave whether or not it was right, is a matter of whom you talk to less than a month after the british new sources guardian, released slogans, revelations, the United States charged Ed with theft of property and espionage, leaving it with. No. Choice, but to leave his entire life behind and seek asylum somewhere in this particular case Russia. Cold war enemy. Russia Snowden is still in isolation as we speak, but being the geek that he is a clever way to communicate with me right here in my office,
at the hidden planetarium. He literally wheel into my office as a bought a robot the voice, you will soon be hearing emanate from his virtual ACE displayed on a being pro remote present system, which is essentially, I guess I pat on wheels. He manipulates directly from Moscow and its where has been offered asylum and is currently in exile and He moved you you know it's him because I say: can you not any like can swing left swing? Ripe is keeping control this thing so so that the bank itself had a certain presence in this interview, even though I saw of him was, his head. It seemed everybody has an opinion about Snowden some com, a trader
some common national hero, he's worshiped, he's despised, he's praised as activist is criticized as a criminal and get it all depends on who you speaking with Personally, I choose to think of him as a card carrying member. The geek community and, as I speak to him, not as an interview in German because that's not what I am and you get that from other places, but I interact with him as a fellow geek in case you missed the first part of that interview. Here's some of the highlights from that conversation we had here right in my office, the percentage drops out eyes all regrets every had chemistry. This is the first time the sentence has never been uttered in the history of my college. Rock you haven't noticed, I'm a little bit of it, because I really believe that the government was telling. The truth is that this was an effort to try to free the oppressed
the liver liberate people living in an unfortunate circumstances, and it took a very long time for me to develop any kind of scepticism at all, even to sort of Mostar. Overextended claims about the intentions of programmes palaces most of it Things that we spend every day are electronically make him, and when these communications are observed, they can be intercepted and can be views that can be supported to up purposes that are contrary to the intent of the person of origin. So electronically naked that code for on encrypted, and these are private space. This is a private communications we spent, but they remain problem. The problem is the practicality of how the engineering of these systems was to stop. In fact, sixty seven, these eighties we inherited architectures, did not foresee the problem of electronic interception by a civil and private
Where is the sort of interfere with them? Do whatever they want. So now Our expectation privacy is being used, let's say all societies that have opened communications that communications over there on the ground, eventually discover that they need to improve their communications if you have alien civilization, trying to listen for other civilizations, were our civilization, trying to listen for aliens theirs one small period in the development of their society, with all their communications will be sent via the most primitive and most unprotected means. So when we think everything that were hearing through satellites are everything the air gearing from our civilization. If there are indeed a south, all of their communications, are encrypted by default. So what we are hearing is indistinguishable from us from cosmic microwave back radiation,
when we think about what people really saying. What is it all? I don't care about that. I will take your privacy. I've gotten it high is theirs. Look here about their by saying that I don't care about the right to privacy, because I've got nothing to hide is no different than saying I don't care about freedom of speech, because I had nothing to say your ass for a less liberal war constrains society simply because that right is not valuable team in that, when you're thinking about the day when you have the National Security Agency, for example, as the course that operating outside of the law in fact, in violation of it, I am violating the forthcoming rights of three hundred and thirty nine. Every second of every day that I think for most people would change their calculus another draw caught up. Let's go to the first part of us, can weak with Edward Snowden right now, so you better
for a while and are you writing shortlist, Swiss Putin The words I actually just finished than about fifteen minutes jumped up please, but Edith birthright. I tried to find your twitter and good with which your hand, and don't actually have one year. But I gotta say I follow you. Thank you. Thank you, but still you gotta need a twitter handle so like you No, maybe this is something they might do their best. Good. I think I think we're gonna make it happen, you're out of its, whereby no nice nice we'll get the legal to approve you're, you're you're every move here, but but if they give you that sums up, we're gonna forget Your followers obey. You know the internet me in the USA. The great so I think I
stand where you're coming from now. But I want to hear from you, you have governments servicing your blood you join a intelligence agency, the fall about. Gathering information and then You tell me everybody the secrets. So that kind of sounds to me like imagining a police officer showing up it at the Indian. A hundred a handing out speeding ticket. This is not the place to handle meeting taketh everybody's driving faster and everybody here knows that. So what was your tipping point there? Because Europe, you have fool, you are fully you all in you are all in in this big and now to come around one eighty and say no, I'm not. I are you, having asked tickets at Indy five hundred,
No, I do believe in the power of national defence of intelligence gathering, in line with the context and the value of our society right, but, I repeat, was not simply secret information offer or your risk dick intentions or anything like that. I never published a single document. What I do is I work in partnership with the free press institutions of journalism, the very fundamental part american society. Reveal not simply the operations intelligence of how the until this works, but on or immoral programmes which now ports have agreed with me broke the law. Even within the CIA worthy- and I say no in the U S is supposed to be above the law. In June, twenty thirteen, the president of the United States, where these programmes were found
Real said, you know what don't worry about this guy's, not that big deal, I think we drew on the right balance here. In January of twenty forty. He said. In fact, these programmes need to end the mass surveillance where the ball collection of merit and needs to start an under common. Conversely, do now that was obviously sort of passing the buck there, but it's a fundamental change in recognition of the value and the necessity When we talk about national, when we talk about national security in real terms, not political, rhetorical terms, we need to think about the country different. We need to think about. Is this consonant with our values and is this application of a thought? Business applications, intrusive application of force necessary through the protection of our?
our society and proportionate to the threat base, its the same reason that we don't want nuclear missiles, people who seek through immigration, You know that there has to be some level of reason, and, but I think we see is that, because these programmes were born in secret, outside of the review open or outside of the review, the majority of Congress and even the President himself did not know the full details of elephants were built since twenty four team, for example its cleaned, the English surprised. When they found out that the USA was monitoring the self appointed closest allies. So we need to think about where we draw was there, and I think it's because we have a fundamental tension between the innocence of principle, which is happening in Turkey
the communications undermining their security was made on them and also protecting our communications domestically and what has happened? Particularly the personnel of the period? Is we ve seen a sly, its increased in velocity force from a now security agency to national surveillance agency, and that's not our nations interest, because when we think about, for example, a global spy, let's say cyber security on the topic of the day. And we think about the research and development, but of United States, which is larger than any other, and we compare it to some are competitive and ignores the percent just as a total total money, its large, but not as a per cent of the total, is correct to be totally
or is it large? Yes, I know, but I don't think anybody would contest that the United States as the most advanced technology companies, research initiatives and things like that, at least when it comes to industry and yet the end say, is weakening the security of internet systems and standards upon which we rely. Twenty equal or greater measure, then our adversaries? You can analogies this to an example where. UNICEF finds a way to build a back into every bank of every country. A sort of global economy where,
There is only the United States and Japan, we ve got ninety dollars and they got ten dollars and a hundred every time you successfully steal from the other guy, you gained ten percent of their gross domestic product per ten out. When we had China, we get it up when they have us, they get. Nine dollars is more important to us to protect our systems because they ve protect nor by assets than it is for us to weaken the security of our adversaries. When I think about government surveillance, I had? My knee? Jerk reaction is cold war, Russia, cold WAR, Soviet Union and its when this became global. This concept of the government, spying on its own citizens, and this it's almost have trope in our cinematic trope spy,
with suitcases, moustaches hid in shadows behind telephone booths and and and in an Alley ways and they observing you surreptitiously, but clearly not as we all knew, they were there. But obviously this picture is far different from AIDS reality, and I asked him about the difference. Is they always programmes between then and now. Here's what he said how'd. You compare twenty first century United States, too cold war, Soviet Union surveillance on our own citizens
I really thought that too much money when I think about their, I wouldn't compare them directly, but what I would say there has been an interesting cultural change in the political circles of our country, which is that during the cold war period, we had an adversary that we compare ourselves to constantly and there is self evident to us as a massive intrusive surveillance. All of the Soviet showed us. There were undeniable evidence of the superiority of our more system that we rejected those programmes. Even though we have the capabilities, even though we could do it more, even though we can do it,
we turned away from it because we said that's not we all. We are not going to watch the daily activities, we're not going to peer into the private lives and private records of ordinary people who ve done in the wake of the Soviet Union after their collapse, there's been some firm backing of adversaries. Nobody can really China, the United States, the way that it happened back and and because of that, we ve lost a little bit of a competitive honesty where were were rating ourselves against everybody else in the world, or at least the challenges, because we couldn't ignore it.
Now today, when we talk about our threats, we're talking about people like I'll, kill people like ice. It's true. There is no question of moral superiority because their chopping people's heads off a blazing fire when I think of the cold war. So I think that people entrenched coats following you down the street, but today do not people entrench coats, there's surveillance cameras in the street following me down the street. What's the difference, the difference in technical? It is something that politicians have used recently to clean data. We should worry anymore, for example, they say we are not listening to what
who sail we're just keeping track of all how one of them- and you know that we gotta wrap up this segment of star talk. We ve been following my exclusive interview with government Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who spoke with me through a robot that he controlled from his russian asylum nets, we're going to get more deeply into the science of encryption technology and add even have some questions for me. About how to hide secret messages among the electromagnetic noise of the cosmos have camels, before you, when I consider singing all of the ads on this show there just one way to get out of hearing there go to patriarch arms last startled and
porthos at the five dollar level or higher to listen. The star talk ad free, you, download all current episodes into your favorite pack has player and never we're here another commercial on star talk ever again. You will definitely not happy hear me sing if you support us at Patria Dark coms. Last our talk, radio, I mean I'm just sing it I mean just SAM. Start, I welcome back to start or green weeping following the second part of my exclusively review of CIA agents, turned whistleblower Edward Snowden two years ago and spilled top secret information
I commend everything maker warmer pointers and journalist. Glenn Greenwood published an article in the guardian feeling the NSA's mass surveillance programme. This triggered it upheaval of public debate across the world, the? U S, intelligence agencies were effectively, and I suppose, understandably, outraged and Ed was charged with espionage. Meanwhile, the authors who leaked Ed's information to the world, one Pulitzer Prize for public Service, also George poke awards and other such prestigious recognition. So Apparently, the media slightly different opinion than the rest of the government on this issue, and it was the following year that Laura Portress directed her documentary film, citizen for traveling the entire series of events from them. She received Ed's encrypted emails to the moment and found himself in asylum isolated in a foreign country
it when the Academy award for best documentary and when I saw the film on HBO, it was a There was an unbelievable sequence of events that you think of. It must have been scripted by some espionage writer from the cold war, but in fact no it was real, actually happen, and- and you and we ask ourselves- is this happening today in this the second decade of the twenty first century, so, I was left with these feelings of what is the world we are living in today s talk about a simple cellphone: what can the essayed do with it two years ago. We would never even have thought to ask the question, but after add bleach, thousands of top secret files to the press We now have the answer as well. Isn't easy to sit with? They can do whatever they want. This means they can turn it on turn it off access, our apps turn. It
What microphone watches check our male, but this sort of content monitor is relatively reserved for individual targets at as I understand it, but what is concerned? about is the wider net cast over every EU citizen to scoop up our met data as Ed with the word actually. Means so, let's go now to the one. On one conversation at an I had together in my office here, the Hayden Planetarium when he wheeled in in the former robots tat he controlled from exile in Russia. In your circles, I've heard the term better data bounced around a bit about doing no matter data is the extra information on my my cell phone hammer shot. You know we're
taken what time today, GPS might give us location, but presumably you have deeper deeper relevance to the term. What is right, and one of the things that politicians used to defend these programmes initial early summer, because our point out about your meditated injure content is be collected when it crosses the internet, It was the upstream programme, but they said you know, I don't worry about it in the context of telephones, because nobody listening what you're saying there simply recording who you're calling when you're calling them where you were when you call them information such as back what they're talking about his data about eight meditated sort, the current text of a communication on the fact that occur rather than
once in itself, but is deeply misleading, because when we think about it in the context of mass surveillance collecting everybody's everywhere, Many data is more value and content. It's very difficult to get three hundred and thirty million people are to put on her head every day and listen to three hundred very uncles. But it's very easy to get a computer Toronto algorithms against the men say commodity is very small precipice and you'll take my word, for it is actually the idea that meditated is actually more intrusive, more than pace account is well established even in the amongst the defenders of mass events, Stuart maker, the former General Council of the national security?
said that when you have enough meditated, you dont need content. The idea here is that many data is a proxy or content. The director national Security Chief Alexander, said we killed. Him based on that and he's right when we're firing help art. Mrs out of drones at people we're not targeted at individuals or Tommy at cellphones, because we don't know these people we have put on the ground and that's the reason so many broke experts, but the real danger here is to assume that meditated is harmless. We know what used to kill people, but it also has tremendous privacy issues. Many data is the same thing that a private investigator collects when they follow me around. They became in close enough to you when you're sitting of cap aid to hear every word saying, or you ll notice the air
it will be close enough to see who you mean. We are debating how long you there, where you go after you're done where you live. What kind of course tried all of these peripheral facts about your life? Your activity are the product a call in support of the USA vernacular constructing someone's pattern of life. Life is DR not from the content of their actions, but for the meditate, by the metadata of three hundred thirty million Americans. What you find is a perfect record of three hundred last week in the first part of our interview with Ed, we spoke about the battle,
aging between defenders of online privacy and those who seek out our personal information. The language of this battle is mathematics, its dialect cryptography. I wanted to know how Edward Snowden a man whose for diligently for both defenders and the seekers was baptized into this battle. In the first place. This is the most technical part of our interview and arguably the most important and is going to explain for us
Christian is all about visually. I began to become ass needed via encryption. Technology is not an annuity how the network of the internet fits together. I have things, are communicated how their observance and then, as I began, to work for the honest, I also saw only began to peace, it sort of unintentional law or, for reasons contrary to the intent of the community's. But when you think about that, you knew the mathematics and schemes within encryption
I think about the the sort of french topics that are that are less well discussed, even in the academic sector, for example, their ideas of encryption that are called symmetric encryption, which is where you used a password achieve its the same on both sides of something that doesn't change. You lock something you ve got one key that both locks it and unlocked, and you have asymmetric encryption where we have one key that lost it, and then you have a separate key that unlocks. This allows different parties to action share knowledge without sharing the same king saved passwords. But then you also have more sort exotic esoteric methods like secret, sharing their called secret Sharon's schemes. One another thing is the famous, at least in the community is called at Shemeah Secret, Sharon's and
was a really challenging concept, get for someone who didn't have a formal background Maddox, which is the idea that in dimensional states right, you could have a matrix of dimensions, and this is. This is already an abstract difficult for people with all think too much of math fit it into their heads things, but think about the three dimensions that we live in every day you ve got sort about an x and why accessibly thinking about a regular plain, like you're marker? Have you got a horizontal space and got the burdens?
our third dimension that we live in every day would be the z access the death. But beyond that, when you need to start thinking about additional dimensions beyond third, it's quite difficult for people to have our say. I will ever forget the impassable impossible not to try to find a fourth, why those perpendicular to the other three I dont know anybody who can do that. We can do on paper. Of course, mathematically did you got for dimensional cubes and five dimensional cubes through time on an end, dimensional and as in the Veal determinant letter arrived,
and in the context of secret sharing, would be the number of parties who are sharing in secret. So the idea here is to enable, let's say five people to work together to share access to one thing that secret, but their concern that one person could give away. The key were basically work against the interests of everyone book, so you have to make sure that sort of an ex participants are collaborating together to access the material before I whatever's protected here before its rulings. I say you need three. Five four of fines
But how would you do this in the context of passwords and protect our faith but fairly difficult problem, but so the way they do this is through an individual, arresting and or matrix, and the idea here is that, if you think about a three dimensional space analogous to three parties in the example, I that's not so hard to get your your head. You can think of any three dimensional point in space on earth, for example a cheap, yes, ordnance, someone that, although that's actually two dimensions, are meeting if you can get out of tune on that, so yet a thriving very go right. There's your view third dimension, but you would say already you have to meet a street corner on Washington DC or in Washington DC and those who, through dimensions when you're at this point
so if you have access to the secret, but have you impose additional constraints? How do you get those extra in dimensions? The fourth dimension could be time. You'd only noble unlock this at you met on a certain street corner in Washington DC at you on February, for team of twenty six. Valentine yet February. Fourteen years, that's what everybody that works on other cryptography, then you want
additional constraints. How do we do this, similar to space time the idea of a continual where you go only have physical location, but you also have an additional time constraint. You can also impose additional requirements that substitutes for dimensions. I won't we think about this in the context of computer security, cryptography things like that, introduce not only people but what's now called multi, multiple factors, multi factor education, where, instead of you simply entering a password, you have to change your password in addition to presenting an their mescal becomes rear. Smart, I want, I use Ngos or physical. I can't are biometric. Are these are additional dimensions, adding more multi dimensional to the way the beach direct assistance protect mincemeat map
but these are. These are sort of the challenges to me. The heart problems, insecurity. There are our fastening because people, you know we ve got these brilliant academic. Researchers have come up with these amazing theoretical advances, but it takes a really long time for us to translate them from the university to the laboratory to the company to everyday life, yet that their time delays and almost everything that goes on in universities and, of course, the government has been trying to speed up to get practical, marketable products from the brains, brainchild of of academic researchers. So about about these dimensions, let me ask you something: if I send you encrypted message and that includes a message get it gets intercepted. The interceptor will know, presumably that its unequivocal message, whether or not they can decoded, would it be better to send a message
that they don't even know is a message at all, so that it doesn't call attention to themselves something that is when did in the noise of the background. So it doesn't. Even so, it doesn't even call attention to itself. This is. This is a classic challenge in a coach calmer, what's called a covert communication as a study superbly space is how do you divorce the content of the communications, for example, whatever the messages that protected bibles encryption, I haven't crimson from the fact that communication occur in the first place, and this is really a challenge. How do you send a signal that no one hears and when we think about this is at the root of the problem are universally problem. There are some approaches where people go where we can try to construct was called a mix when we think about net based. Communication, like me,
we're we're out. Everybody's communications into a voluntary conspiracy of volunteers around the world are simply trying to protect people's privacy and when you get everybody's communications coming into one point, even sometimes with second point and a third point, and their constantly mixed up so people observing the network having much more difficult time. Ah correlating the communication ended up at the destination with where originate from. But beyond this, when we think about a sort of up back out from the practical. Think about the arab problems here there are real questions about what happens when communications get lost in the movies.
I'll be able to hear in space because, of course, in space, no one can hear you scream. Universe is actually rich with cosmic noise loud enough to distort messages and perhaps hide messages with in them. This may seem like an infinite source of camouflage, but it's not so simple at- and I spoke about this conundrum and of the potential of hiding messages in the sounds of the universe and, of course, by sounds of the universe referring to electromagnetic radiation, which, in its own way can be noisy next
start. I welcome back to restore talk, radio. This is a special edition of start up. We're chose to break our usual format in favour, a little one on one time, with government, whistle blower, hero, trader, Reasonest slope tonight, you were hearing part two of that in this final segment of the show we're going back to their conversation with it right here in my office when he spoke to me through a remote, controlled robot, which is essentially an eye level Ipad with wheels through this virtual medium. He and I went back and forth about his early education, encryption technology, fourth, amendment rights and why he chose to break his country
of secrecy to the government to defend the constitution. Let's check it out, so the cosmic migrant backgrounds and interesting point its it. It looks like nice to know knows these days but in the day when you don't even know cause Europe, you only just leave your billion second, they tvs here. What were called rabbit beer antennas. Surely you read about this in your we ve just along, and then you could move
does she became part of the antenna by touching it. But if you weren't between channels, they would be this sort of static on the screen, but we called static. Some percentage of their static is the actual signal from the beginning of the universe, the cosmic microwave background, and so but so it looks like noise locally, but in fact, if you look at it across an entire sort of spectrum of frequencies and actually has a shape, a very distinctive shape that we know and described were highly precisely in physics. So if you are too high thing in the cause of micro backward, you have to follow the shape that it takes depending on the frequency. You would communicate with them. Just warning you in advance. If you want to hide a signal in the universe, they they have a very characteristic profiles. Just so so this is. This is actually a really interesting, interesting thing that I would like to ask you about
Look, it's astronomy is pretty far from my wheels. I some level the universe if, above everyone's head there? There was an old paper that was once Britain on using entropy its gathered from this cosmic microwave background. Radiation is a source of random numbers, because the most difficult part of generating reliable, robust encryption before trickier scientists than that petitions working cryptography today is to make a computer generate random because they can, at the end of the day there, Ernest regimes there wasn't here was the risk of autonomous regions. They can't on their own, do anything truly re. Instead, they use waterfall single mathematical, to try to develop numbers which are random enough for our purposes, but Please pseudo random number generation rely on what's copy, see value an enemy.
She'll random input, which today, in computers we try to generate from, for example, the movements of someone's mouse. The time on the machines taking by network communications. There things are a little bit unpredictable apart, guess to guess, for an adversary was trying to attack his perfect communication we used to use the random number generator to generate the seed for them number generator. That should help a little bit. Is that might well be. The question is how many steps up complexity? Can you get there? first, I am, unfortunately, when you have adversaries of enough sophistication and budget anything that a user who is not as power do can generally be reversed by adversary, the levels of education, but when we think about where do we get there, truly random numbers from reliable way at the camp. I guess I can't go back in time. You you can't
figure out what the original truly random number was from which all the sooner rent functions were were run off, and a paper wasn't was written on using the universe, as the sea of that ran auction, using sort that the distance, the distant noise that comes from things like pulsing man, some other. The logical feature and listening to bear all around the world, because even if you could record Everything that you can hear given location on earth in one observatory, and now we did in the state of Washington Sheila, there's something you can't hear all the different noise. That's hitting all of the planet in every spot, all the time the amount of the amount that we're
hearing from the universe is simply too large, is there any source in the universe? Instead, it would be unique in that respect the or hard to observe that you think could be used as a source of truly random, the other problem is now. We have a network of telescopes, they communicate with one another that have basically all sky coverage. Radio waves can radio telescopes cancer of the universe in the daytime added nighttime, and these signals are typically radio signals. So Sars are a great example, the rapidly spinning they send pulses of radio waves, she wanted to know, I have one of those pulses in some index to it in principle, you could but there's a finite number of pulses that we ve got him to catalogue. You know without him there, and so I have to think about that's what amount of dig up that paper. Semi Yosemite Paper outside Europe,
by carrier pigeon? So we can trace time having Vienna say already here, so we are people were thinking could could we make a gps system that is good for all planets? That does not involve just the satellites around one planet and in principle you could do that from pulsars, which are far enough away from our entire solar system that everybody has can just see them index to them, and you take their way through the best timekeepers there ever. Was there in southern rotate thousand times a second millisecond pulsars, and so they had their time keeping devices bitter built into the universe and sir, we ve got top people working on that at this point, another thing which to me I've never really quite understood. Whenever we talk about the engineering of communications or electrical engineering general. We talk about signal. The boys
and when we talk about it out in the in the universe. In a way this is expected, we think about it as nobody's as astronomical movements. But isn't really no one's. You know when we think about the fact that all of these different points, nurse or actually doing something is it no reserves and sick. I think the distinguished The earth is essential. We have there is whether we want it in our calculations, but there's something poetic. I think of the idea that the universe talking to us all the time it s a great way to think about it. I once wrote and ass. They called signal and noise. That's what it was in a future date in one of my books, those with the most fun I say I've ever written because it was. It was a topic that the public doesn't do not compelled to think about much. Yet it has profound implications for knowing anything at all in the universe, and so your right
signals that I'm I'm interested in, because their interfering with some other signal that I am interested in and so I will repeatedly get data on the object, I'm interested in to raise its signal relative to any other signal that I'm getting I'll give you an example. We have clusters of stars out there with a poem got, but one of the types of political argument classic thousands of stars and they're all here and now there they are and there's a beehive. We don't see them move because we will live long enough. It's a beehive, but I'm interested in that one star right there. How M I gonna isolate that star. What what am I gonna do, and so I focused on and try to get rid of as many other sources. I can now there's another started sitting right next to it and its sharing white in my detector, this light spillage in my detector, I won't get rid of what I don't wanna keep what I do want, and so you write in many too
It, is just my choice. What I'm declaring to be signal? I want him declared to be noise, but there is also a fundamental source of noise. It also exists in any ccd detector. You wanted to detect an object to the fact that the detector is not an absolute zero means. Thermal currents create signal the detective. That's noise, total noise dense interesting, because when you mention that it raises to me the idea that, by listening to something like.
Collecting more that we need more than we desire more than was relevant to us. We can basically suffer unintended consequences and some very analogous, I think, the indices systems of surveillance. We ve seen him it's not just in the United States, not just going to say this is a global problem that every country's pointed the problem is mass surveillance, which is where, because of all the communications that are going over, the air for cellular networks were going across the internet on fiber optic cables under the sea. We ve got governments that are basically cooperating telecommunications companies were there there grabbing these fibers in collecting everything, and, just like you can get some kind of thermal input, the goddamn, sensors or scrope readings we ve seen the White House itself has done reviews of the value and effectiveness of mass surveillance unfounded, despite the fact that the collecting or they claim the legal authority to monitor.
The communications of everyone in about three hundred and thirty nine, where every time it never made a concrete difference in a single tariff escalation and as a result, all of the people all of the resources that were committed who started monitoring all of these innocent people's communications are taking away focus on the traditional means in law enforcement investigations and tell the scattering the watch, people who are really suspected individually of being involved in some sort of criminal activity onto it. Basically, by creating a haystack of Schuman wives, we're losing needles rather than five have isn't part of why data has been collected industries If I say that, because if it weren't, you could accuse the authorities profiling,
which no one that's a taboo, at least in America, although certainly not tat. When you're boarding in certain airplanes in certain places in the world but profile you like this, but in America that's consider bad, and so they ve got a funny screening one of the airport, even the eighty year old hunched over woman right. They screen everybody when we, when we think about the problem of profiling nights the fact that there are going after too many people indiscriminately trying to everybody for now room the legal. This doesn't work, but we don't know who we're looking. We want to watch everybody because they might be doing something wrong. So let's try to narrow must translate on their there. Their religion were there at the city, and these things are wrong because it makes criminals of innocent people with a criminal suspicion on people who have done. But we have had this problem in the past when we look at investigators and that's because rather than
Finally, we have another investigation which is called probable. Coms is the idea that, rather than watch people who we don't know are involved in it, we don't watch people, we haven't done anything wrong. We watch people who specifically are doing something. We have some evidence to indicate that their doing so the fairy ears were contrary to us and we monitor themselves sippet. The distinction between mass surveillance, which we know doesn't work and targets, are being much in this. Is the idea that, rather than simply collect the communications of everybody there at the telephone companies- or you know, at the internet service providers, you do the traditional means, investigation, which are to have their own specifically, whether that at their house, bitterness computer with that's through there's a cell phone in on this
space, you don't have to worry profiling, don't have wherever, if you're thinking about profile, what really arguing for the idea that sort of we would need to watch everybody? We don't know who is doing something wrong specifically, your arguing for is a paradigm shift in the method of investigation, which is now which would be pre criminal investigation instead of investigating people who have broken the law and then holding them to the account of justice, you want to invest everybody all the time in case they might do something on regardless of whether or not actually isn't that what happens at airport security, one. That is what happens at airport security ones, but there is a distinction. The intrusion there is very narrow because you only have a limited amount of assets. You got the closure worried that the things back at the can't read your thoughts. They can't ask about. You know your family, they don't know what you're hopes and dreams are excellent
you're in Moscow. Where did you choose a a tropical country with with palm trees, and shipping companies on the beach right now I actually never intended to end up in Russia I was originally book. There were journalists who were taking pictures of my might by playing the part of the russian Army accurate or or Bolivia were or Venezuela, something went back those unless there was a little. The warm Unfortunately, the Department of State cancelled my passport. When I flying on my way there and there they tracked me near for Russia but you know I will say that, despite all of the things that I've lost and then I was able to play at least a small part in doing something you been listening to start talk. Radio,
and my one on one conversation with government, whistleblower, Ed Snowden, hope you able, clean something new from these past who shows where ideas about Edward reinforced or you were lifted into a different way of thinking about the situation. Maybe you just learn something new that encryption technology and welcome as a member of the Greek community way. Of course I have done. I knew the grass types of your personal astrophysicist and has always been to keep looking like Galileo job the organs which you can listen, MR our talk, commercial free joint start talk on patron. For as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com, slash star talk, radio
Transcript generated on 2020-01-25.