Societal collapse, Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology "They're Coming For All Of Us, PAY ATTENTION!" | Edward Snowden (2021)
Uh was a felony, and the penalty was, i think, five or ten years per violation and they had committed this crime billions and billions and billions of times so law passes and wipes away all the criminality and says it’s. Okay now and the reason this is passed in the face of a scandal, the whole reason this could go. You know uh people could authorize this when they were outraged, which you have to remember at this point. George bush is a very unpopular president. They all dislike him, but every politician is afraid of being accused of being soft on terrorism and what they got was they extracted an agreement from the president, who would simply say this program is no longer going to operate. We’Re going to shut this down, we’re not going to do this anymore! Well, the funny thing about this inspector general’s report that i found so many years later, uh, which is published by the way in the washington post. If you want to read it it’s a very interesting document, it’s a secret history, of how all these programs came to be um, they didn’t actually shut it down. The president lied um and the people in congress who knew about it, kept their silence what they actually did was. They took the part of the program that the journalists had discovered and written about and they shunted that off, but the much larger bulk of the same program they simply renamed and made even more secret and continued in a new way under a slightly new uh legal Authority under this stopgap measure law that had been passed, what had previously been called a stellar wind, that was the code name for it or the president’s surveillance program, was now split into two: the terrorist surveillance program, which was renamed because the public found out about it.
They wanted a nice name for it and then the president’s surveillance program, which continued and became the mass surveillance that i eventually discovered and told the world about through journalists. Now a lot of people will look at this and they’ll think about the fact that the government constantly lies when they’re exposed. You know they just find an excuse and they extend these programs. They rename these programs they keep operating, and just you know this. This is what we should expect, and this is how it will work, and this is how it is happening, but people become disempowered, they become hopeless, they think it doesn’t matter. They think it wasn’t worth it right. I’Ll never be able to go home again. Uh shy of basically a presidential, pardon or change in law that will allow me to get a fair trial, because for those who don’t know the only reason i haven’t gone back to the united states and to face trial for this is the jury is actually prohibited. Under the laws that i’ve been charged under from hearing, why i did what i did and deciding whether that was right or wrong. There is no way to make any kind of defense that what you were doing was moral, even if it’s unlawful and to have the jury, decide that question um. But the point is people get disempowered right and they go uh it’s hopeless. We can’t make any progress, but this actually comes back to that atomic moment.
All the darkness we see in the world all the problems with technology, think about the nuclear era and all the harms of that visit upon the world Music and then think about what nuclear energy does for us today and i’m, not just talking about nuclear power plants Right i’m, talking about our science and talking about the progress that’s been built upon it. We have in many ways tamed these forces. We do not control everything and there are still disasters uh both of engineering and of judgment. But what i want to point out is that, since those stories of 2013 that were on the front page of every newspaper, they were on every news channel. You know everybody in the room probably thinks facebook is spying on them and you know you’re absolutely right. So is amazon, so is google, so is the phone in your pocket? So is everything you use? So are the ad trackers in every app you install, even if it’s like angry birds, right um, but now we’re, aware of the problem and everyone who works in any kind of study or research understands that defining the problem i mean is one of the hardest parts Of resolving the problem and since 2013 we have seen something of a renaissance in digital security, it was very difficult to get any kind of security, research, funded or products purchased, or basic changes in protocols and infrastructure and programs and applications just the whole way.
The world works people resisted this quite strongly until they saw how uneven the playing field was, and then they thought wait, wait if our governments are doing this. There are adversary governments right and if governments can do this today, companies will be able to do this tomorrow and in fact, governments and companies are constantly vying with each other today to see who can do it better and most of the government’s best hacking tools and Technologies today are not developed in house in the united states or canada, or any other country, they’re actually purchased from industry, people who previously worked for government and then they left and they developed the same kind of weapons. And then we have a new digital arms trade. But this awareness of the problem led to a new effort to resist these abuses and to create new safeguards and new protections before 2013 uh, the one of the most important stories about 2013 that people hadn’t really understood. Everyone in academia who worked in technology understood it was theoretically possible. It was quite trivial to do, but we didn’t have evidence. There was a real world attack that was happening and developed open, free societies. We thought this was something that belonged to authoritarian regimes, and this is that all the communications uh that you’re engaged with every day you send someone a text message: that’s going over sms right sms is unencrypted, because the phone call someone that’s an unencrypted call right when It’S going over the long haul phone network uh you to your nearest cell phone tower is encrypted right, but that cell phone tower is connected via cable to another cable, to another cable, to another cable to another cable to a cell phone tower.
That then, goes to that other person’s handset right anywhere on those long wires. They can hear and collect a perfect copy of that call same thing for your internet traffic um before 2013, as measured by major browsers, like google, of course, their their chrome browser uh. Something like a third of web traffic was encrypted less than half right, uh and now today um the last figure i saw, which was from the end of last year, uh. It was nearing 90 percent. Now what this means is people’s communication. When you went to go check your gmail box in these early days, anyone between you and the server right. They could read your email um, and this worked for facebook right. This worked for search engines. This worked for so many different services. It was only things that really were tied very strictly to commerce, where they were encrypted strongly, while they were in transit right and what this means is there’s two ways basically to get at this data about all of your activities. About all of our lives right, you can either catch it in transit, as it rides over this global network and back then, all of this stuff was traveling over that road electronically naked unencrypted um. Since then, we’ve started armoring. We we’ve closed ourselves as we cross this hostile path by encrypting our communications by default, but we still have the google problem. We still have the facebook problem right. We still have the all of these problems.
Amazon runs half the internet now, even though people don’t see it because it’s on their web services and what this means is you have these giant silos that are run by corporations Music, where your communications are encrypted, while they’re in transit across that path, but then they’re, Actually encrypted to google and when they reach that destination at a google server they’re being encrypted with key that google holds, google can now read everything because they want to mine this for data. They want to be able to sell it to their partners and you know, do targeting against you and these kind of activities, and so they want to be able to read it right and if they can read it, then other people can ask them to give them A copy right, so the government just goes to google and says: hey, give us everything about this person that person so on so forth, or the government will simply try to steal the key and let themselves in or the company will get hacked. And then the hackers have it as we see in all these data breaches that happen so there’s the data at rest and there’s, the data in transit and then there’s the final uh sort of model, which is the ideal that we’re moving towards more quickly with each Passing day, which is where the source and destination of the communication are being encrypted from one point to the other right, so this is you’re talking to someone uh on your phone and you’re, not using um normal sms’s right.