How to Avoid Surveillance…With Your Phone | Christopher Soghoian | TED Talks

How to Avoid Surveillance…With Your Phone | Christopher Soghoian | TED Talks

For more than 100 years, the telephone companies have provided
wiretapping assistance to governments. For much of this time,
this assistance was manual. Surveillance took place manually
and wires were connected by hand. Calls were recorded to tape. But as in so many other industries, computing has changed everything. The telephone companies
built surveillance features into the very core of their networks. I want that to sink in for a second: Our telephones and the networks
that carry our calls were wired for surveillance first. First and foremost. So what that means is that
when you’re talking to your spouse, your children, a colleague
or your doctor on the telephone, someone could be listening. Now, that someone might
be your own government; it could also be another government,
a foreign intelligence service, or a hacker, or a criminal, or a stalker or any other party that breaks into
the surveillance system, that hacks into the surveillance system
of the telephone companies. But while the telephone companies
have built surveillance as a priority, Silicon Valley companies have not. And increasingly,
over the last couple years, Silicon Valley companies have built
strong encryption technology into their communications products that makes surveillance
extremely difficult. For example, many of you
might have an iPhone, and if you use an iPhone
to send a text message to other people who have an iPhone, those text messages
cannot easily be wiretapped. And in fact, according to Apple, they’re not able to even see
the text messages themselves. Likewise, if you use FaceTime
to make an audio call or a video call with one of your
friends or loved ones, that, too, cannot be easily wiretapped. And it’s not just Apple. WhatsApp, which is now owned by Facebook and used by hundreds of millions
of people around the world, also has built strong
encryption technology into its product, which means that people
in the Global South can easily communicate without their governments,
often authoritarian, wiretapping their text messages. So, after 100 years of being able
to listen to any telephone call — anytime, anywhere — you might imagine that government
officials are not very happy. And in fact, that’s what’s happening. Government officials are extremely mad. And they’re not mad because
these encryption tools are now available. What upsets them the most is that the tech companies have built
encryption features into their products and turned them on by default. It’s the default piece that matters. In short, the tech companies
have democratized encryption. And so, government officials
like British Prime Minister David Cameron, they believe that all communications —
emails, texts, voice calls — all of these should be
available to governments, and encryption is making that difficult. Now, look — I’m extremely sympathetic
to their point of view. We live in a dangerous time
in a dangerous world, and there really are bad people out there. There are terrorists and other
serious national security threats that I suspect we all want
the FBI and the NSA to monitor. But those surveillance
features come at a cost. The reason for that is that there is no such thing
as a terrorist laptop, or a drug dealer’s cell phone. We all use the same
communications devices. What that means is that
if the drug dealers’ telephone calls or the terrorists’ telephone calls
can be intercepted, then so can the rest of ours, too. And I think we really need to ask: Should a billion people
around the world be using devices that are wiretap friendly? So the scenario of hacking of surveillance
systems that I’ve described — this is not imaginary. In 2009, the surveillance systems that Google
and Microsoft built into their networks — the systems that they use to respond
to lawful surveillance requests from the police — those systems were compromised
by the Chinese government, because the Chinese government
wanted to figure out which of their own agents
the US government was monitoring. By the same token, in 2004, the surveillance system
built into the network of Vodafone Greece —
Greece’s largest telephone company — was compromised by an unknown entity, and that feature,
the surveillance feature, was used to wiretap
the Greek Prime Minister and members of the Greek cabinet. The foreign government or hackers
who did that were never caught. And really, this gets to the very problem
with these surveillance features, or backdoors. When you build a backdoor
into a communications network or piece of technology, you have no way of controlling
who’s going to go through it. You have no way of controlling whether it’ll be used by your side
or the other side, by good guys, or by bad guys. And so for that reason,
I think that it’s better to build networks
to be as secure as possible. Yes, this means that in the future, encryption is going to make
wiretapping more difficult. It means that the police
are going to have a tougher time catching bad guys. But the alternative would mean
to live in a world where anyone’s calls or anyone’s
text messages could be surveilled by criminals, by stalkers
and by foreign intelligence agencies. And I don’t want to live
in that kind of world. And so right now,
you probably have the tools to thwart many kinds
of government surveillance already on your phones
and already in your pockets, you just might not realize how strong
and how secure those tools are, or how weak the other ways
you’ve used to communicate really are. And so, my message to you is this: We need to use these tools. We need to secure our telephone calls. We need to secure our text messages. I want you to use these tools. I want you to tell your loved ones,
I want you to tell your colleagues: Use these encrypted communications tools. Don’t just use them
because they’re cheap and easy, but use them because they’re secure. Thank you. (Applause)

Comments (100)

  1. This guy is a liar. Be well advised!

  2. Your information you just gave is common knowledge …nothing new

  3. This dude is NAIVE !! Or, he thinks YOU are stupid.

  4. False!! iPhone îs bugged by default

  5. What about google and Facebook acting as big brother.. do you want only google can monitor people’s every move… They are controlling our thoughts, beliefs and actions…

  6. Your calling your insurance or hospital and first they tell you this conversation will be recorded to improve our services jajajajajaja 😂😂😂who invented the internet in the first place wasn't the CIA the lucky one ? 😂😂😂😂

  7. I. Against those programs and we should destroy their programs for good and the bad guys should be track instead of the good ones you pedo government.

  8. Let develop a skill to establish a global network of brain to brain connection. Trust me, there are intruders, who can interrupt this sort of communication.

  9. Other than this, these are corporate wars then govts.

  10. I know this is like putting out a campfire with a squirt gun, but I put black electrical tape over the front and rear cameras on this Android phone.

  11. Keep an eye on data use.and a andriid has its own way off telling you something ain't right.light comes on and off by its self meaning someone is loggin on to you changein of ringtones that you didn't apply screaches and fuzzy back ground notices.texs that you get with mixed numbers and digits.meaning some installed spywear on you device incirrectly.or the wrong program for your device.and there's other ways to recognise this just know your device and watch out for sudden behaviour there's not such thing as a scitzo phone yet

  12. i got news for you … Encryptian was broken a long time ago … im amazed to hear people touting that as secure.
    Nothing digital is secure.
    Now you can still circumvent certain actions by most companies like Ppal or whoever by finding a weak signal area the slower the better which will allow you to beat their protocols if …. anyway

  13. If police want it easier to catch criminals they can just look in the mirror!

  14. This very sad but true

  15. those “safe” tools have been compromised long ago.. check Wikileaks about Italian hacking Team…



  18. Waste of 5 mins. "We need to use these tools." Uh, which tools?

  19. Thanks. Now I feel better.

  20. Surveillance ? assistance ? sucurity ? What do they monitor ? Sometimes i have the feeling that they are just a group of lesbians who are just there to look after love and sexe questions ! Sometimes there are some guys too. It is not because i am against prostitution that i can not have a boy friend ?! Whenever i talk with a man, they are all getting crazy ! Who are those who look after me ? Chinese ? French ? Russian ? Vietnamese ? What else ?

  21. The government would be so bored with my conversations.

  22. The only terrorists are the US an UK governments which is why they are against encryption – get real folks!!

  23. best way, don't use one.

  24. Who do you work for ? How. Do you keep a straight face ?

  25. Amen hip hop. Thanks for your intelligent opinion. thanks Rosario

  26. Good advice. Thanks Rosario

  27. Only 763 k.
    That's why we're being surveilled.
    One word:awareness

  28. This guy is an Apple / Facebook shill.

  29. As of mid 2019 WhatsApp is no longer secure. So for now, it’s going to be Telegram Messenger

  30. This new phone is secure

  31. Who fucking cares ..!!!! It’s more than just the iPhones that have survaliance if that is even true at all ..!! Smart gadgets and WiFi .,!!!

  32. the only truth he gave was his sympathies.

  33. we've already been told violation of our person

  34. 💩💩💩 for the 😴🐑

  35. I don't believe this. Js.

  36. The government has been given information from the phone company for hundreds of years, really? Since phones didn't exist hundreds of years ago nor the.ability to wire tap, what were they using, two pork- n- beans cans and strings?

  37. this is crap lies, the gov can access alll emails phine ect. tech companies are deep state and nsa, liar


  39. Don’t watch, he didn’t give one example on how to stop it !!!

  40. This video is pure cynicism. Google knows exactly where we are. How do we protect against Google?

  41. ha ha…. i beat the system…I only use CB radio to communicate….10-4 good buddy !

  42. the reno police where using Samsung MirrorLink to manipulate my car. I changed to a iPhone xr and my lte speeds have doubled and my car returned to normal government is the biggest threat to our country, terrorists are themselves imported by the government.

  43. WhatsApp is perfectly open to governments and what is open to government is open to hackers and criminals too

  44. I know people who say they don't care if they're monitored. They say, "I'm not doing anything. I'm not that important." Apathetic surrender of rights.


  46. Our government started this years ago.
    The globalized One World Order, are using our private words and voices, against us. And if there people with money that support the opposite side of them, they will go after them, like they did Roger Stone.

  47. What tools? He didn't name any. So, the video wasted our time.

  48. I just wasted 6:16 Minutes of my life that I will never get back.

  49. who care rathers somebody listening to my stuff then teroist attacks perfect english

  50. any device on the web is getting logged..too late b


  52. WhatsApp (Facebook), Apple iPhone text messaging is NOT secure!!!

    This idiot doesn't know what he is talking about……………….

  53. bunch of b.s whats app lmao what a fucking lie wow sorry for anybody who believed anything this video said

  54. clueless speech ??????????????? how to avoid gov surveillance thou ?

  55. So chris is wrong! It is still happening now and getting worst.

  56. Expose FREEMASON , I write on twitter " Yahweh_is_Love " , MUCH MORE THAN THIS GOING ON .


  58. The biggest security threat to the world is the U. S. government. Get your facts straight, Mr. Soghoian.

  59. Yes we do live in dangerous times but who instigated it so that we are far more dangerous than ever before. It has been primarily the US Fascist Empire with their constant invading and occupying forces going into foreign lands that were no threat to them in the first place. It is their insane ideology of "full spectrum dominance" to control the world by controlling the internet, controlling the economy, controlling the banksters, controlling space etc. etc. Countries have to automatically react to these insidious invasions that are unwarranted hence they are then called "the terrorists" when the nation-state terrorists are actually the US Fascist empire. Google "Full spectrum dominance"

  60. Just another SCAMER 😎😂

  61. Thank you Captain Obvious

  62. Correct!!! 100 percent.

  63. Was that an iphone ad?

  64. No I don't want the FBI, CIA or any government entity to have nothing! They are the reason it's "crime" sickness and death!

  65. The police are the bad guys

  66. Delete this complete b**l s**t Ted Talk. Just watch "The Hated One" to verify this is actually s**t.

  67. “Someone could be listening”… no, someone IS listening, its just a matter of the surveillance algorithms deeming the information they’re obtaining necessary to document, save, and store or not. Cuz, ya know, all my fellow NRA members and I are considered “domestic terrorists” and “dangerous” enough to necessitate being tracked by the government, simply for knowing, expressing, and vehemently engaging in our constitutionally protected rights. To the establishment, there is NOTHING more dangerous than armed and informed citizens!

    Privacy is a fallacy anymore, period.

  68. Catching bad guys?
    They let them go and go after innocent people..
    Its a deep state thing
    Ask Trump 3 years fighting over his election win

  69. Hillary used a hammer it worked

  70. Whoever booked this guy should be fired. Worthless tinfoil hat fear speech without any tangible, actionable solutions.



  73. I think that staying off of Twitter Facebook n all other social media plat forms would help but as I'm saying this it's YouTube too. So yep just toss ur phones I didn't need one be 4 they came out. I just like YouTube for other media that isn't the mocking alphabet ones. This guy gives no real useful info.

  74. The reason we live in dangerous times is because of the government

  75. At one time you picked up phone dialed a number that went to local switch station then to another and so on till connected to other phone. By wires and stations. Now you use cell goes to tower to major computer system then directed to tower the persons cell or computer. Everything goes through a major system computer. I know i was apart of setting up one in my area and was told what the potential was and local wireless network that are in every place for gps and other use. Go look at telephone poles and you'll see on the top of some a large cylinder about 3ft long. Thats not public wifi

  76. this is more of problem today….his talk was 2015— how much has changed by now in 2019?

  77. So where’s the advice ?

  78. Lies. If it's so encrypted, why do I get recommended advertisements for random items and services I've never before discussed or sometimes even thought of no more than 5 minutes prior? This happens with relative frequency. WTF?

  79. Most people have boring mundane lives, including those people at TED.

  80. Big tech works hand in hand with government. The NSA captures everything. Just look at the Patriot Act. This guy is blowing smoke alot of it

  81. Yeah…I'm not buying it

  82. So this was Apple advertisement ?

  83. 😂😅🤣they just want to impeach the PRESIDENT over a phone call

  84. So all this bla bla was to tell us to use encryption?

  85. I am not buying any of this BS, they can listen in that can track your every step probably your heartbeat as well and the screens are probably facial-recognition capable.
    Like the mirror in Snow White

  86. That’s a lie from Apple. The messages are retrieved before the encryption is applied.

  87. Turns out this presentation is lies–the social media companies are spying on you when you use their tech.

  88. Maybe nsa put this ted talk up to trick us 🤔

  89. Apple, what's app and FB are accessed by the government

  90. When leaving shut off location, next stay away from toll booths, my favorite, change your number every 60 to 90 days.

  91. We all have a phone or laptop or smart TV in our homes. To those who say throw your phone away, ok. But don't you have technology in your home too most likely? Well, all the same. Throw it out.

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