Edward Snowden Thinks We Haven't Heard from Aliens Because Their Communications are Encrypted

Monday, 21 September 2015 - 3:43PM
Alien Life
Science News
Science TV Shows
Monday, 21 September 2015 - 3:43PM
Edward Snowden Thinks We Haven't Heard from Aliens Because Their Communications are Encrypted
Astronomers have long been confounded by the Fermi Paradox, or the apparent contradiction between the vastness of the universe and the high probability that there are intelligent alien civilizations somewhere in the universe, and the fact that we haven't heard from any of them yet. On the latest episode of Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, NSA whistleblower gave his own speculative answer to the Fermi Paradox: we may not have heard from aliens because all of their communications are encrypted.



Opening quote
"When you look at encrypted communications, if they are properly encrypted, there is no real way to tell that they are encrypted," said Snowden. "You can't distinguish a properly encrypted communication, at least in the theoretical sense, from random noise, from simple random behavior."
Closing quote


Tyson then (predictably) asked Snowden what this would mean for potential communication with alien civilizations. Snowden claimed that we could very well be detecting alien communication, but are unable to distinguish it from random noise in the universe:

Opening quote
"So if you have an alien civilization trying to listen for other civilizations, or our civilization trying to listen for aliens, there's only one small period in the development of their society when all of their communications will be sent via the most primitive and most unprotected means. So when we think about everything that we're hearing from our satellites, or everything they're hearing from our civilization... All of their communications are encrypted by default. So what we're hearing that's actually an alien television show or a phone call... is indistinguishable to us from cosmic microwave background."
Closing quote


As Tyson points out, this doesn't take into account that aliens could be attempting to get in touch with us using symbols that are assumed to be universally understood, such as the number sequences in the Arecibo message, not to mention that they are just as paranoid about their security as we are. Snowden replied that the aliens could ver well be "politically a little bit more enlightened" than humans.

Science
Space
Alien Life
Science News
Science TV Shows
Edward Snowden: Aliens Communications Probably Encrypted

Load Comments