Christopher Soghoian: Government surveillance - this is just the beginning

  • Published on Mar 5, 2014
  • Privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian sees the landscape of government surveillance shifting beneath our feet, as an industry grows to support monitoring programs. Through private companies, he says, governments are buying technology with the capacity to break into computers, steal documents and monitor activity - without detection. This TED Fellow gives an unsettling look at what's to come.
    TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
    Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at
    Follow TED news on Twitter:
    Like TED on Facebook:
    Subscribe to our channel:

Comments • 200

  • Reeble Snarfle
    Reeble Snarfle Month ago


  • Laura Schweitzer
    Laura Schweitzer 3 months ago

    Michigan is doing this now, literally said they'll be watching and listening to white people with opposing opinions. And all "hate speech" which doesn't exist. First amendment is under attack, next will be 2nd amendment....war

  • Sehid Mujovic
    Sehid Mujovic 7 months ago

    People it is real!

  • Jeff Garbaas
    Jeff Garbaas 11 months ago

    Peeps the cat!! Meow!!

  • John Thwaits
    John Thwaits Year ago

    Very worrying

  • Cynical mug
    Cynical mug Year ago +1

    paper cannot be hacked

  • Valera Arakelyan
    Valera Arakelyan 2 years ago

    As if Apple doesn't share personal info with FBI !

  • أبوعمر
    أبوعمر 3 years ago +1

    What about the smartphones cameras? :|

  • Samus Grind
    Samus Grind 3 years ago +3

    One the reazons why terrorism exists is to justify government shadowing and collection info. It's not the main reazon, terrorist play many impotant roles as irregular army, where govs can't act fully open.

  • weeral1
    weeral1 3 years ago

    The only thing amusing about this video is that people didn't know??.... and that it's much MUCH worse than he makes it sound. How about, not just a "target"........, but *Everyone*... *all* the time.. for decades.. all backed up for the the next Hitler to use against us. This is old news, and what this man is talking about would literally be a dream vacation next to what they are actually doing. There is the argument that there is too much data to sift through, so you kind of have privacy, I don't buy one bit... and even if it is true... for how long do you think that will be? CIA funded the startup of google. High tech algorithms already exist obviously and are getting better all the time. Artificial Intelligence is on the horizon or already here (considering what we know about is sometimes 50 YEARS behind what they are doing.). Echelon, Prism, etc..... all now out in the open (what we know about). Technology is still not just accelerating but exploding! To think we have privacy from this Tyrannical, ever growing more powerful government, is just... not realistic. Time for more people to get angry. Very angry. This problem will not be fixed from within the system that created it.

  • Juan DM
    Juan DM 3 years ago

    this guy promoted the use of apple's text messaging system, face time, and whatsapp, as privacy friendly applications. So kinda contradictory. I wouldn't take his word seriusly.

  • Billy Bob
    Billy Bob 3 years ago +4

    How can we be assured that government employees aren't active pedophiles remotely viewing minors through their phones or other devices? The available technology and the lack of any meaningful oversight virtually ensures that abuses can and do occur within the government.

  • xRinFantasy
    xRinFantasy 4 years ago

    This very topic that Mr Soghoian talks about is extremely unsettling to me. The fact that this power of technology can be used and misused by almost everyone is scary as it is. Now, we are introduced to the fact that the government can use this power to hack into phones and computers secretly to obtain personal data. Mr Soghoian said that since there is no special technology for people like journalists to use, the government can and has the means to not only hack the ‘bad guys’, but also the ordinary citizens.
    This is just the beginning-as technology improves and advances as rapidly, we (ordinary citizens) are getting more and more vulnerable to these tactics used by the government in order to ‘enforce laws’. This also brings into question whether governments truly care about its people’s privacy and whether their ‘surveillance’ is reasonable and not taken too far.
    (150 words, Lynn T, CMM/TB04)

  • Hafiz Ishak
    Hafiz Ishak 4 years ago

    I agree with what Christopher Soghoian says and how it is important to have an informed public debate for this matter. It is not right to have the capability of hacking into anyone’s to the computer to the extent of invading any individual’s privacy. It would definitely be an asset when tracking down criminals, pedophiles, drug dealers, terrorists, especially since there is an intention to prevent crime or harm on others. However, especially since we have so much data stored online, the fact that the government and FBI has access to our information without our knowledge and even authorization is unacceptable. I feel that something needs to be done such that even the government only has access when an individual is suspected of doing something malicious and not all the time. An organization, whether external or internal, needs to make sure that the government does not violate innocent individuals’ privacy. Isn’t it already a low-key crime to even be stalking us?
    (161 words, Hafiz Ishak, CMM/TB03)

  • JovithaCharles
    JovithaCharles 4 years ago

    I do agree with what Christopher Soghoian had said that “Its vital that we have an informed public debate” about the government being able to hack into our devices anytime and any place as “There is no law passed specifically authorising this technic(hacking).Because of its power and potential for abuse…”. The role of the government is to keep its people safe and protect its people from harm.I do agree that by using such devices to hack into the systems of potential threats such as terrorism,we are kept safe.However the fact that these devices exist also make me question the government as they can hack into anybody’s device which threatens everyone’s privacy. Through his talk I also realised that there are companies who provide the government with such hacking services and devices such as “ Hacking Team” and “Gamma”. There is a Data Protection Act in Singapore and if Singapore does have these devices and are able to hack into our devices, wouldn’t that mean that the government also plays a role in protecting our data by not looking and sharing this private data? Overall,Christopher’s speech has been an eye opener and made me think about the government and our privacy.
    ( 200 words, Jovitha Anusha Charles, CMM/TB03)

  • Qaisara Roslan
    Qaisara Roslan 4 years ago

    I agree with the speaker’s point of view towards government surveillance. Looking at it from different perspectives, people may think that the government are somehow invading ones privacy. But from another point of view, they can just be trying to look out for citizens and are using the modern technology to catch criminals. In the end, that is what the citizens should be most concerned about, their safety. If someone was to be in the unfortunate position to be a victim to one of those crimes, and the government manages to come in time to save them, they wouldn’t be thinking in their head “I can’t believe they invaded my privacy!” At that moment, they can only be thankful. So I believe sometimes people need to trust decisions that the government makes and not only think about themselves.
    (138 words, Qaisara, CMM, TB04)

  • Asyiqin Abdullah
    Asyiqin Abdullah 4 years ago +3

    I agree with his views that the government is going a bit too far with the infringement of people’s privacy. Yes it is a good tool to use to track down any illegal activities such as terrorism or pedophilia and such but is it really necessary to “hack” into people’s online activities just because they are the government?

    I do agree that it is a good method to keep up with times on the government’s part but out private lives should be kept private and not being monitored by the government. The trust between the public and also the government is lost there.
    However, I do kind of feel I’m contradicting myself because as much as I want the government to control the limitations on who to check on, it is kind of defeating the purpose because we never know who is involved in illegal activities in today’s day and age. A 16 year-old may be guilty for all we know.
    It is very debatable but in conclusion, I do agree that the government is going too far in “hacking” into the public’s privacy online.
    185 words, Nurul Asyiqin, CMM/TB04

    • Meverynoob
      Meverynoob Year ago

      Today, where terrorism is a psychological warfare and the battalion fights a war of recruitment online, you'd realise how crucial it is to have foresight & evidence to charge these criminals... It's not only terrorism but things like the dark web (TOR hidden services, nearly impossible to track) that force governments to place an impetus on gaining complete dominion over all computers in the country... Lest there be extravagant, rampant crime that cannot be stopped.
      The public's privacy may be breached, but to claim that this is unnecessary is to be very naive: criminals are versatile and they could be anyone in the country. Would you allow the victimisation of a few people just to keep the majority "happy" and "free"?
      Because the moment you support this notion, you're jeopardising the stability of the nation and even worse, marginalising the minority who suffer tragedy by complete chance... You are effectively in support of disaster. In some sense this is the same as vaccines where herd immunity is of utmost importance (infections can happen anywhere, so maximise coverage to benefit society). You'd allow disease to just spread? For what? Your "privacy"? So many people have done stupid things online there's about nothing the government will see of an everyday person that they will remember... And if it is forgotten, can it really be said that personal information about you was leaked? It already evaporated, unless you were a criminal you wouldn't pose any major threat to the government...

    • Samus Grind
      Samus Grind 3 years ago

      +Princess FangirlXXAsyiqin i believe govs will create and support threat, that they think can handle latter in order to justify collection of info, becase they want more and more control over people.

  • Gerald 98
    Gerald 98 4 years ago

    What the guy said in his speech really sparks a debate. Government is capable of abusing surveillance to invade the privacy of celebrities, ordinary people, bad guys etc. But we ask ourselves, do they have the time to do such things? There are billions of people in the world, who in the right mind has the time to check out on each and everyone of them. The duty of the government is to facilitate the needs of people, keeping citizens safe. It is right that they use these methods to track down dangerous people like terrorists, hence no objection that they should continue this method.
    The more important issue here is that we, as normal individuals, with sufficient knowledge can also develop such a software. By having this capability, anybody's privacy can potentially be invaded, gradually you will see tons of leaked celebrity nudes and more. Hence, measures must me taken to prevent such creepy things from happening.
    (203 words)
    Gerald TB03 CMM

    • tedskam
      tedskam 3 years ago

      +Gerald Lee "do they have the time to do such things?"Do you know how many different spying agencies are in the U.S. alone? 17. Want to know the budgets of those 17 agencies? Yeah well we really can't find that number out, now can we? National security and all that. Do you REALLY believe all 17 of those agencies are focused on terrorists ? (as defined by people philosophically or physically aligned with organizations whose intent is to do HARM to this country, NOT as defined by the gov't, which is "anybody anywhere for any reason")The NSA meta data center wasn't constructed to find pedophiles and the next subway bomber. its for data collection on EVERYONE. The only way to avoid data collection (or hacking or altering or intrusion of your data/systems, is to not HAVE any. Period. There is no "safe method". One NSA program, has an 250 million dollar budget. One program, in one agency. The govt indeed has the time, the personnel, and the money and wherewithal to do exactly what you believe they cannot. And, they most assuredly are. We citizens (of the world, not just the U.S.) have no idea of what reality is, regarding the lack of privacy or security anymore. The majority of us falsely believe (and I cant figure out why) that the gov't is basically and essentially "good", and on our side. That assumption is insane, and has no historical basis in fact.

    • Gerald 98
      Gerald 98 4 years ago

      156 words oops

  • Jamie Tan
    Jamie Tan 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian with regards to his views on today’s government surveillance. The technology available today gives an advantage to the government in terms of outsmarting potential criminals and also in controlling the citizens residing in the country. It reminds me of George Orwell’s prediction of the future world in his book ‘1984’, where government surveillance has reached a stage that people are given no freedom or privacy - all to prevent insurgency against the government. This also robbed the people of democracy and their rights. Though I agree that the government’s method of preventing criminal acts is justified and it is not unreasonable to trade our privacy for the safety of our country and people, I feel that it is necessary to call a public-informed debate as suggested by Christopher in order to prevent what George Orwell had envisaged in his book. I also feel that we should be concerned and kept in the loop about such technological advancements.
    (171 words, Jamie Tan, CMM/TB03)

  • Aisyah AA
    Aisyah AA 4 years ago

    Christopher Soghoian is definitely right in my opinion; I believe that there should be more debate on the ethics of government surveillance and how it is being used or rather abused without our knowledge. It can be for the better and greatly help a nation’s defence and security when used right but when abused, it is an invasion of privacy, one that is uncalled for. The FBI hacks into the content of its suspects. I understand it is a necessary evil but I don’t entirely agree with it. What if the suspects wound up being innocent, is it fair then that all their online activity has been monitored by the government? At the same time, I also see the need and value of government surveillance as it can lead to really important revelations should any suspicious activity online be detected. It could potentially help solve a case. I’m on the fence about government surveillance, I see the capability it has to help a nation progress but I also question its intentions and whether or not any of it is entirely needed. (181 words, Aisyah AA, CMM TB04)

  • Nurrisha Ismail
    Nurrisha Ismail 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian's resting statement that the public needs to be aware of the hacking techniques law enforcement agencies have embraced as a means of conducting extensive surveillance on anyone that owns a laptop or computer. Surveillance companies who have sold their software to governments claim that the true intent of these surveillance methods are to trace terrorist activity and capture terrorists, criminals and pedophiles, yet they understand that some of the governments they are selling their software to are extremely corrupted and are likely to use the software to track down journalists and dissidents posting information regarding the government in hopes of inspiring a revolution and overthrowing their corrupt government. They are selling their software to power-thirsty government officials who are willing to torture journalists of their own country for their own welfare. There is no good in that and the companies part of this 5 billion dollar industry are merely escalating government dictatorship and violence. Furthermore, the government is utilising tax-payers’ money to fund these surveillance softwares to spy on its people when instead the money could have been used to develop the country’s education sector or infrastructure to improve their living conditions.
    (199 words,Nurrisha Ismail,CMM/TB04)

  • Tovey
    Tovey 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian that we should have an informed public debate about using hacking as a law enforcement technique. The public deserves the right to know if the government is going to gain access to all their devices.

    Indeed, using hacking, as a law enforcement technique would be effective in capturing terrorists and locating pedophiles however, I feel that governments using this technology should draw a clear line between what is defined as law enforcement and what is an illegal invasion of privacy. Also, by hacking and keeping an eye on every citizen, governments have changed the Internet from what was a tool of freedom and justice into space where one’s every action is under surveillance.

    I have learnt quite a number of things; the government is always watching, committing a crime face-to-face would be better, and finally, some day people might stop using the Internet in an attempt to protect their privacy.

    (155 words, Tovey Melody, CMM TB04)

  • Julia Tan
    Julia Tan 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoain’s view that there should be an informed public debate on government surveillance. With all the evidence he has presented, it seems to me that it is no secret of what the governments in various countries are doing. So, I believe that they have the obligation to inform the public of at least an overview of their surveillance techniques. Invasion of personal privacy is a law, and I do not see why governments have to be exempted from it. People have the right to know that they could be at risk of being spied upon without their knowledge and they should have the right to take action against invasion of their privacy. The governments mentioned in the video may not be using surveillance techniques for corrupt purposes, but the very notion that they have the ability to do so would probably draw wary attention from the public. It would definitely be suspicious if the government had some secret surveillance plan that they did not want their citizens to know about. I would never have a peace of mind knowing they could watch every move I make without my knowledge.
    (193 words, Julia Tan, CMM, TB03)

  • Sonia Tay
    Sonia Tay 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian's view on how governments using advanced surveillance technology to infringe on the privacy of their own people's private content is really taking it a step too far but really it is just the beginning.I think the fact that the government has the power to do this shouldn't be a reason why they are doing it,I do understand that breaching into people's web surfing sometimes is important to ensure that any terrorism is curbed however how can the people trust the government if even their own web browsing isn't kept private anymore?The web is certainly a platform for terrorist activities,to research on methods to further terrorist involvement as well as to recruit more people,one prevalent example being ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).However I feel governments should still put a limit or rather ensure that they know where to draw the line when it comes to how far they will go,instead of just randomly hacking into people's accounts,which is what they are doing,very bluntly put. (170 words,Sonia Tay Jing,CMM/TB04)

  • timebernerz
    timebernerz 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian’s view that governments are using advanced surveillance technology and software to pretty much hack everyone and anyone without their knowledge. I also agree with his comment about the need for a public debate about this.
    Governments are supposed to serve the country and its people, to protect. I understand the impact that the Internet has had on security and privacy and those security methods have to be updated to stay ahead, but to think that these kinds of invasive methods are being used on unsuspecting victims is honestly terrifying. Your emails to loved ones, your private texts, everything is laid bare for the government to see.
    I know that the Internet has become both a boon and a curse to security and privacy. For example, take the recent arrest of a Singaporean youth under the Internal Security Act. He was one of the first known self-radicalized youths in Singapore. He was inducted through online propaganda and was so far gone that he had planned to conduct terrorist activities in Singapore, including bombings and knife attacks.
    However, there needs to be a limit to how far governments can go in surveillance, and I fear that that line has already been crossed.
    ( 219 words, Beh Jun, CMM/TB04 )

  • Sloth-
    Sloth- 4 years ago

    The fact that the government has the capabilities to hack into anyone’s content, whether civilian or terrorist, is astonishing. They can easily hack into anyone’s private content without leaving a trace. Yes, this can indeed help with the ongoing conflict with terrorists, but this can also breech civilians’ privacy.
    Like what Christopher said in the speech, a debate is needed on the issue of governments having access to this exclusive technology. The ability to hack into anyone’s content can be either used for good or malicious intent. It really boils down to the honesty of the people in power. If the government is corrupt, they would use this technology to continue in their amoral ways. However, if the government is honest and clean, this access to the technology would certainly be a welcome to their arsenal against crime.
    Either good or evil can be achieved with this technology, it all depends on who is able to get his/her hands on it. Civilians may have disagreements with the government having this kind of technology, but in the end it is up to the government and their values. The ball is on the government’s court in what they would do.
    (198 words, Ian Kiew, CMM/TB01)

  • soh yee
    soh yee 4 years ago

    Christopher Soghoian has a good point. The government is using such technologies to hack into computers and what not. Why? Is the government so afraid of us? At one point in the video, Christopher Soghoian said that last year, Hacking Team’s software was used by the Moroccan government to target Moroccan journalists. And why did the government do that? Are they afraid of the news that Moroccan journalists might publish? And we do know that in so some parts of the world, governments are so afraid of what news journalists might put out that they go to such lengths and disrupt their process of getting news.
    But what scares me the most is that some other people, some stranger in the government has complete full access to what I do on my computer, phone and more. It’s not that I have done something wrong but it feels like I am being watched 24/7, and that just creeps me out.
    (165 words, sohyee, cmm/tb01)

  • Naufal Hakym
    Naufal Hakym 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian’s main point for the need to have a public debate on whether or not government surveillance is warranted. I personally feel that although such acts of mass gathering of intelligence is needed as part of preventive measures against threats of terrorism or other forms of conflict, the software and capability to do so should only be available to the governments of each country.
    The fact that the surveillance software used to silently tap into our communication devices are developed and even sold by private corporations worries me more than actually being spied upon. This means that just about anyone out there with sufficient funding or who have the technical know-how to steal such technology can just about be as powerful as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the sense that even the FBI and their agents are possible targets for secret spying and hence, classified information can be leaked out.
    (156 words, Naufal Hakym, CMM/TB01)

  • Mira Ismail
    Mira Ismail 4 years ago

    Using advanced surveillance techonolgy to monitor the netizens is, without a doubt, a good thing. Governments are able to counter the “bad guys” since some terrorist groups uses the internet to increase their followers and supporters. Before anything unfavourable happens, I’m glad the government can catch them first.
    However, what then draws the line between supervising and intruding privacy? If the fact that the government have the power to monitor whatever is being done on technology, that also automatically mean that they are looking at normal everyday people’s action. Everything that I do now may be looked at by the government and that makes me feel uncomfortable in so many ways. I want to be able to do things without having so many pairs of eyes watching. What happened to online privacy then?
    Sooner or later, people might not want to share anything on the internet anymore because of this, and that defeats the purpose of inventing it in the first place.
    (162 words, Nurilsyamira Ismail, CMM/TB01)

  • thejamiechiang
    thejamiechiang 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian that there should be a debate about government surveillance and whether it is a suitable law enforcing technique. This is because I personally feel that having the government monitoring our personal online content is a violation of human rights. There are questions that could be asked on the necessity, morals, principles and ethics over surveillance. With the prevalence of private companies offering technology to governments that are unable to build their own, every government in the world is essentially able to conduct surveillance. This calls for the need to debate, which is what Christopher had brought forward as his viewpoint. Despite that there may be disagreements that the citizens’ privacy can be compromised in exchange for their safety, my personal standpoint on this revolves around the consequence of sacrificing one self’s privacy. Ultimately, if we can be deluded into thinking we are safe, then we could also be deluded into thinking that all our data is safe.
    (162 words, Jamie Chiang, CMM/TB01)

  • Nigel Loy
    Nigel Loy 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian that governments have embraced hacking as a law enforcement technique without any real debate. He says that in the United States, where he is from, there has been no congressional hearings or law that has been passed specifically authorizing this technique. This shows that the government could be trying to cover up some of their intentions in not being open with the public about such an issue. Such technology can be used effectively in tracking down criminals, terrorists or other hackers but as Christopher Soghoian said, we all use the same devices. The government has the power to hack each individual device regardless of whether said device belongs to a criminal. As such, we stand at risk of unknowingly getting our devices hacked by the government. Without a congressional hearing or law, it seems that the government is being a tad bit suspicious about this software. Which makes me ask myself if it is really used only for law enforcement or does the U.S government have ulterior motives for using such software. (177 words, Loy Suan Wee, Nigel, CMM/TB01)

  • Cheryl loh
    Cheryl loh 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher that knowledge on government surveillance should be made known among the people.
    It is reassuring to know that the government has the ability and power to look into the bad guys computers. After all, it is of good intention: to capture the people capable of bringing unrest to our society.
    But to know that the government can also be using this software to look into computers of the good guys is unsettling. For one, a Moroccan journalist jailed by his own government for doing his job - seems a tad contradicting doesn’t it? Because of the power this technology holds, the likelihood of it being misused by the government is high. If it is used to look into the computers of innocent people, it is not only an invasion of privacy but a violation of ethics the government should uphold. This intrusion, when made known, will only bring about more displeasure and negative feelings towards the government.
    Ultimately, it is crossing the line if this technology is used other than what the government says it is used for. But I believe that there is a level of trust between the government and the people.
    (198 words, Cheryl Loh, CMM/TB01)

  • Natasha Noi Hogan
    Natasha Noi Hogan 4 years ago

    I do believe it is definitely no secret that the government is using hacking software to keep track of what people are doing online with such advanced technology we have these days. I feel it is good they are doing this to catch online child traffickers, drug dealers etc because this helps to ensure that the web is getting safer with authorities watching over. However, I do feel that watching over what people do online is not as effective right now because there are millions of devices and for the government to be able to get into every single one is quite impossible. Hence what the governments are doing I feel is not fully effective.
    Also I do not think there needs to be a public debate on having the government being able to access people's devices. Of course ones privacy will be compromised but it's all helping aid the government in having a safe society
    (156 words, Natasha Hogan, CMM/TB01)

  • dani
    dani 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher Soghoian’s view that governments may be using advanced surveillance technology to hack into not only terroristic content but also anyone’s private online content. It appalls me that a higher authority could untraceably breach anyone’s privacy. Although I do agree that advanced hacking technology could be utilized to counter modern-day terrorists’ activities, how can everyday people trust that their online privacy is left untouched? For example, certain terrorist groups use social media as an online medium to reach out to a wider audience to increase the intake of new potential followers of their cause. Governments could take advantage of advanced surveillance technology to prevent this and even track down locations of the source. Like Soghoian, this leaves me to believe that if these governments have the power to hack into secretive online bases of terrorists without leaving a trace, our content is probably as accessible.
    (148 words, Danielle Roman, CMM/TB02)

    • Samus Grind
      Samus Grind 3 years ago

      +Danielle Roman one hand is feeding and the other hand is fighting terrorism. Govs just need to stop supporting them economically and not trade oil with them in first place.

  • Goh Pei Shan
    Goh Pei Shan 4 years ago

    I agree with Mr Christopher Soghoian that there needs to be a debate on this issue of government surveillance. This Government surveillance has its good points and also its bad points.
    Using new technology to help catch criminals such as pedofile and terrorists is a very good and effective way to use advanced technology. Advanced technology was not available in the past, and this made catching criminals and terrorists much more difficult. Thus i feel that government surveillance is necessary to help make our society much safer.
    However, Government surveillance means decreased privacy. Normal people with normal lives getting spied on is a very disrespectful thing to do. People who have done nothing wrong might feel really insecure and this may make them distrust their government because their government does not even have the right to hack into their computer and enable their camera and microphone, much less browse through their personal folders.
    To sum up I feel like this action is really beneficial but it requires some limitations as to what and whose computer is being checked on.
    (179 words, Goh Pei Shan, CMM/TB01)

  • jigglespuff
    jigglespuff 4 years ago

    I agree with Christopher’s views on government surveillance. I also concur that nobody, not even the government, has the right to hack into anybodies private life through hacking.

    When he brought up that Moroccan journalists were being hacked by the Moroccan government, I was very alarmed. They were being monitored even though they were just doing their job, and private conversations they think were truly private were being scanned without that knowledge, and that frightens me. Everyone uses the same technology, and while the government can hack into the bad guy’s computer, they could also be hacking into a journalist or a human activist’s computer. It’s ridiculous that a person doing a morally right thing be subjected to the same thing as a criminal.

    So while this hacking software may have its merits in tracking down paedophiles and drug dealers, I feel we should not be compromising the everyday man’s rights to privacy, as it is defeating the purpose of technology. I hope it does not come to a day where no one uses social media because they know everything and anything they say can be used against them.
    (Marcus Tang 189 words CMM TB02)

  • Jolanda G
    Jolanda G 4 years ago

    I agree with the speaker’s point of view towards government surveillance. Soghoian believes that the government should not have the rights to hack into anyone’s private life through technology. While the government thinks that it is right to monitor the actions of people in order to capture the bad guys in the society, Soghoian felt that it is an invasion of privacy of people.
    The government collaborates with private players to hack into the lives of civilians will lead to unhappiness amongst people as they feel watched and frightened to do anything on the internet. The feeling of being watched puts them in pressure and discomfort. It may be a solution for government to identify and trace wrongdoers over the internet, webcam and text messages but there could be other alternatives that the government can undertake to achieve their objective.
    Through such extreme method of tracing possible threats, people will choose not to publish their important data on the internet and it defeats the purpose of the advancement of technology which is made to ease and improve the lives of people.
    (182 words, Jolanda Goh, CMM/TB02)

  • Noah A. Lot
    Noah A. Lot 4 years ago

    I agree that there should be debate over the ethics and principles behind government surveillance. This video has revealed shocking information, and the speaker has certainly gave me new insights: is government surveillance a necessary evil, or is it just like a coin?
    If we say it was a necessary evil, then it could be wrong as well. Governments may argue that new technology is necessary to stop crime and deter terrorists. Despite that government could use the resources to hack into terrorists’ systems, enforce laws and suchlike, it could also mean that our data and privacy are being intruded. Journalists could be attacked by governments with haywire intentions, articles could be suppressed, information could be deleted, and ultimately complete domination and totalitarian control could be exerted. By then, it would be too late.
    Then it would be just like a coin. At the end of the day, whoever flips the coin is the most important: did he flip it fair, or is the coin heavier on the other side?
    170 Words, Chan Jia Hui Andy, CMM/TB01

  • Joanne Lau Yunshan
    Joanne Lau Yunshan 4 years ago

    What the speaker has said has shocked me. Of course, I have seen dramas and even real life police programs like the crime watch and thus, had a understanding, though a little hazy, that the government had the capability to sift out information from people like criminals and activists. While this is necessary for crime prevention and breaking of police cases, I feel that the installation of hacking software like mentioned in the video is intrusive. It revolves around making use of these software to obtain information from platforms like text messages, calls and now, even Skype. To put it simply, no platform is safe because one way or another, sooner or later, the teams behind these software are going to start figuring out how to hack Twitter, Facebook etc. It is relevant with the updated and socially active world of today but I feel that it is indeed crossing one’s personal space especially when the user is unaware their messages, actions or speech is being monitored behind the scenes by someone else. (174 words, Joanne Lau, CMM/TB02)

  • Yurika Ross
    Yurika Ross 4 years ago

    While the US government, partnering with private companies, is capable of hacking into folders, conversations and datas to trace potential threats, they are also capable of doing the same thing to civilians. Enabling webcams without getting traced, theres is no second doubt that civilians feel terrorised by their own government. The solution to this is debatable, depending on the seriousness of cases.
    While I think its okay for government to trace potential threats for the security of the nation, I also think its uncivil and impolite to hack into anyone’s personal information like that. Instead of feeling secure, civilians will rather feel insecure because the government is watching every step they are taking on the Internet.
    But then again, the question relies on what civilians actually do on the Internet. They should not be worried if they are not doing anything that is against the law. However, it is not unsurprising for them to feel uncomfortable as some things are meant to be kept confidential, but they know that it is not confidential anymore as there is a third party retrieving that information as well.
    185 words, Tia Yurika, CMM/TB02

  • Xeno-Huntress
    Xeno-Huntress 4 years ago

    Scary. *shiver*


    Belinda's Hot Air.

  • Molly2471
    Molly2471 4 years ago

    Oh great, the Netherlans is on that map too. Time to put a sticker on my webcam.

  • Vikas Vicraman
    Vikas Vicraman 5 years ago

    good one.... thanks....

  • egqa api
    egqa api 5 years ago

    nicely put into words....

  • Cobalt
    Cobalt 5 years ago

    Why would anyone want to hack into our boring lives? Makes me sleepy just thinking about it!

    • Bill Wyman
      Bill Wyman 5 years ago

      That is shocking! Those people really want tying up and leaving in the middle of the road, he,

    • Cobalt
      Cobalt 5 years ago

      @Bill Wyman I wish! I ordered some bamboo seeds from ebay and had to agents from the Federal government knock on my door. My bamboo went bye, and I woke up

    • Bill Wyman
      Bill Wyman 5 years ago

      They avoid the people with boring lives,

  • Netsanet Ashenafi
    Netsanet Ashenafi 5 years ago +3

    thank you sir! i think its high time for the public to wake up and speak up. technology is enslaving us!

  • Jarl Amsen
    Jarl Amsen 5 years ago

    how come this isn't getting media coverage?. it's a giant step into personal freedom!, a freedom you hear Americans be so mighty proud of.

  • Jules Davies-Hinds
    Jules Davies-Hinds 5 years ago +4

    1 year from now, this guy will be dead.

  • JDS
    JDS 5 years ago

    He has one of those strange British/American hybrid accents.

  • edi
    edi 5 years ago

    It is creepy how much a smart phone knows about you. It's not only about who you called, but where you walk and stay but also mail and google...
    Such a device can tell a complete stranger who you are, what you like and where to find you. Believe it or not, but some innocent data combined allowed to tell sex, age, religion, income and political affiliation and probable medical issues.

  • edi
    edi 5 years ago

    Slowly I start idealising the Middle Ages, where there was no Big Brother, where you could walk for days in Nature (and not a sterile, monocultural timber-production) without meeeting any other person and not to forget that no-one could order someone to press a red button that would end our world.

  • i'm sad but that's ok
    i'm sad but that's ok 5 years ago

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
    -Benjamin Franklin

  • clubware
    clubware 5 years ago

    I think that anyone watching a pedophile commit crimes on their computer or elsewhere and not reporting them to the police is guilty of being an accomplice and should be arrested.

  • Christopher Curtis
    Christopher Curtis 5 years ago +2

    Why dont the all knowing hackers who are watching what so called pedophiles watch or visual pedophiles are looking at and if hackers know the pedophile sites and browsers support the sites and the large companies obviously know what they are selling why arent governments and corporations being charged with the massive sales of illegal porn since knowledge makes them 7 billion times more guilty despite their nice string of letters titles and pieces of metal? So all so called law enforcement allows the main computers to run these sites for child porn and in full knowledge of them (cause they have hacked the planet) turn the other cheek? Not to say anything about corporations and governments abusing children by totally bombing them all cause well everyone knows that their children and wives are merely bomb fodder for governments and corproations cause well everyone has to support the economy with their imaginations. I am pretty certain a life is worth more than the number 20 written on a piece of bark. So we have the people generating child porn and snuff films etc by being the most powerful on earth and allowing the sites to exist in full knowledge of them and they probably watch it more than any visual pedo and yet they are absolutely free to make money off selling child porn ? now that is the human economy of imaginary reality at work. So inevntive these little monkeys.

  • Leonidas GGG
    Leonidas GGG 5 years ago +3

    I'm not against this type of surveillance. I am, however, against this type of actio without a WARRANT. We need to have legislation and courts so we can fight against this type of action in a legal way. Also, it doesn't hurt to have somekind of software to monitor your own computer, I'm sure that, being programs to attack, there must be other to defend them.

    • sageyash
      sageyash 5 years ago

      Warrants are useless they can just make it look like the target is a potential threat and get a warrant legally, a warrant would just be something annoying to them not something that would stop them. And this is especially true in 3rd world countries where the law doesn't mean much.

    • satellite964
      satellite964 5 years ago

      Yeah those governments are so nice when they torture you they will be kind enough to give you a warrant.

  • Chino Vash
    Chino Vash 5 years ago

    I 100% agree that some kind of regulation needs to be formed... I get the pedophile terrorist and other criminals thing is a great deal... but then you just have the business merger meeting or the activists as was mentioned to be targeted... its not an even trade of when it comes to the abuse that can take place and or is already...

  • Dev Stack
    Dev Stack 5 years ago

    as long as teh technology is never used against the people..regardless of intent or desire without a valid warrent with A VALID REASON.
    none of this were going to gobble it all up decrypt and try to stop the crazy people by spying on everyone. you cant find the lone shooter from a website or from the internet you cant stop a crazy person from getting a gun regardless of gunlaws and doing something crazy with a firearm or with another avalible object..
    what you hope for is that someone in that persons life can see the screwed nature and help that person.through ethier in extreme cases institionlization or medication and counsouling.
    trying to solve THAT problem with mass survellience dont stop those kinds of tragedies.
    its a waste of resources and a waste of our time and money. ohh and its a turnkey dictatorship ability to boot.
    we dont wnat our goverment ANYWHERE NEAR THAT. we have had it before with the fbi. we have had dark waves of that already through our goverment. in the past. WE CANNOT BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING WILL ALWAYS BE GOOD WITH THE NEXT GUY. and that the capabilities and power of these facilities will not be used for evil gain.
    you cannot trust that these capabilities are secure. by the nsa working to make our encryption code and general programming of our software terrible. they have opened the door to everyone to get in. programmars have known this for years its been a inner secret THAT NEARLY ALL OS SECURITY IS TERRIBLE unless you go linux and learn bash. your securiy level is fairly low if nonexistant.
    you cannot believe in a goverment of pure good...because that is a lie. the goverment is will and can be corrupt. we cannot ever trust the goverment with a inch of power. t hat was the reason for the bill of rights and the restraints onf the goverment compared to british absoloute rule. by backtracking on this and slowly accepting the destruction of these things. we are digging our own grave. because if you make a weapon..good and evil will use it.
    and by working against our security rather then for our security our goverment is destroying our integrity and jeopardizing our future..
    the problem is..what is our goverments future. its full of corporations that battle eachother and vye for control our politicians bicker over trivial issues and our education sinks down further slowly with each year. we are decaying however the internet can help us overcome that. dissmenate knowledge
    by allowing this kind of survellience and allowing this kind of circumvention and "Secret" nsa bugs you are at risk because if the nsa knows...that information is not secure it is possible for it to escape into darker hands because of the corruption woven into our goverment.
    the goverment is not a ungodly force of good or a force of evil it works and functions as a organism doing diffrent things depending on who is watching what where the money is going and if the people make a big enough stink...
    so you will blindly trust a imperfect system with perfect power over its people?

  • selfatrophy
    selfatrophy 5 years ago +6

    We need to be spying on governments, not the other way around.

    • weeral1
      weeral1 3 years ago

      +selfatrophy Thank you

  • Lone Wolf
    Lone Wolf 5 years ago

    you have to be a grade a moron these days not to have a physical shutter on your webcam these days even fi your just talking to your grandma

  • Gladeana McMahon
    Gladeana McMahon 5 years ago +2

    Although I am based in the UK Christopher Soghoain raises global issues and they are scary. History has taught us that we should be aware of such issues as all it takes for "evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing". So many times what has started out with good intentions has been hijacked and I, for one, am conscious about this. I believe in law and order and am quite conservative but that does not mean I am not aware of the dangers of what Christopher speaks about.

  • Grengis
    Grengis 5 years ago

    hmm BSD wasn't mentioned - guess i gotta switch from linux now :P

    • What I learnt today
      What I learnt today 5 years ago

      The malware will run on OSX, linux would be trivial to target but no one uses it, so not value for money.

  • Michael Minkler
    Michael Minkler 5 years ago

    Clear and to the point. Well done

  • clnmyjts
    clnmyjts 5 years ago

    Government surveillance on the people? well all I have to say is those in government use to be a part of the people right? Sooo.... then we the people need to make sure the government employees politicians etc are under surveillance as well right? P.S. they been doing this shit at the casino`s for at least 20+ yrs. Next time your out gambling just look up and wave at the little blue ball on the ceiling and you can be sure someone is watching dad shook his fist at the little blue surveillance
    ball while pulling slots and guess what he started winning now ya know what it mean when a casinosays it has the loosest slots in town...LOL Oh..yeah they are playing ya while your playing the slots! "believe it or not" it`s true!

  • claudia carrasco
    claudia carrasco 5 years ago

    Old news.

  • apk
    apk 5 years ago +1

    Sounds scary and all, but I suppose it's okay, because it's for national security and/or for the children.

  • MrSpeakingFreely
    MrSpeakingFreely 5 years ago +1

    Approximately 15 people are Statist Scumbags.

  • h0len
    h0len 5 years ago

    The US government can hack people, yet pentagon get hacked by second years from NTNU... love how they aren't able to create or protect themselves, because it means that these files can become public if one hackers desides he wants to. Though it never seems like the hackers are the ones lacking moral, it always seems to be the US, UK and other governments that do. Don't get me wrong, there are alot of bad hackers, but most seem to not give or sell information about indivuduals. The hackers that hacked the PS3 did try to sell it though.

    • david bouy
      david bouy 5 years ago

      Not to attack, that's not my purpose, but you stated moral. Like a moral. And though I understand what you mean when you say it (I'm not grammar trolling) this means to me something important because essentially the very crux of this debate is a sound ethics or moral as you put it. To me surveillance seems a near incalculably valuable resource to unmask threats, real threats in our environment in the form of these men and possibly women looking to do damage to innocent citizens and the maybe not so innocent governments of the world. It also seems that the ethics debate AROUND THIS is vague and not citizen friendly. How do we retain our rights as citizens with an invincible penetration as the target? We can't. We can only hold those with the tools Accountable as much as possible. That may be legislation, big wigs, may be boycotts outcries peaceful resistance, whatever beyond discourse. I mean peace is important and it is no doubt that at least part of the goal is to maintain it with this. This is obviously arguable and you may be the person to completely contradict me but unless you can prove it I'll wait for evidence we are being wronged. If it's being sold and the results are harmful, and it reduces autonomy then it needs to be gauged and reassessed. Period. If it will be a thing to keep an average human being safe from threats they can't interact with or fight themselves then I WANT the government to have that power. There is an obvious line and I am all for an open debate and discussion about this here topic.

  • MarsLanding91
    MarsLanding91 5 years ago +2

    Woah, thanks for sharing Christopher!

  • colbypark1
    colbypark1 5 years ago

    I think Mr. Soghoian put it very well. There is a need for this typeof software with certain people, but it is SO powerful and the chance to misuse it is very likely. There needs to be a good debate on the topic, but then again Congress/Senate did approve The Patriot Act already...

  • The Real Drunkard Hu
    The Real Drunkard Hu 5 years ago

    so basically, pay attention in school, read books/relevant articles related to this topic, or be subject to corruption, and all the other words you immediately think of when thinking about your gov't. swell... the only time i'm happy that i'm doing all this "surfing" on such an old, outdated rig... if only this comment would post.

  • Fadaourl
    Fadaourl 5 years ago +11

    Please have some sympathy for the FBI and CIA agents. Anyone who has been on Chatroulette will know what they have to endure throughout their working day. :\

  • x_july_o
    x_july_o 5 years ago

    what i have been suspecting all along....

  • Mladin Alexandru
    Mladin Alexandru 5 years ago

    Knowing that someone's watching me through my webcam, I'm totally gonna masturbate

  • -Abo saud- NO failure
    -Abo saud- NO failure 5 years ago

    Nice video , but you have more information

  • Severe Distortion
    Severe Distortion 5 years ago

    Ok government, watch me jerk off

  • Atoyota
    Atoyota 5 years ago +2

    just the tip of the iceberg here

  • Max
    Max 5 years ago

    Brb, putting a piece of paper and some blu tack over my webcam.

  • Dan Holly
    Dan Holly 5 years ago +1

    Great Speech

  • roidroid
    roidroid 5 years ago

    If you have nothing to hide then there's nothing to worry about, amirite?
    This is why none of us ever wear clothes, and why we all invite our neighbours over to watch us poop. Coz privacy's just for evil terrorists.

  • roidroid
    roidroid 5 years ago

    Mnyuhnmj uuxena hxda *lxdwcah*;

  • Artimis Fowl
    Artimis Fowl 5 years ago

    TL;DR: Build your own OS, keep your computer off the web, and wear a tin foil hat.

  • B1gHagar
    B1gHagar 5 years ago

    Simple rule of thumb. Would Hitler like this product? Would Hitler like the NSA? How would Hitler use the internet?
    Something tells me Hitler would like his NSA to use this product to watch everybody on the internet.

  • Bryan K
    Bryan K 5 years ago

    Glasshole at 6:50!

  • Open School
    Open School 5 years ago +23

    Spying and intruding our privacy and stealing our personal data going to create havoc in our society. Here, Christopher Soghoian expertly points out how the Governments join hands with private players to hack us. Definitely there should be a widespread debate is required, And it should not be limited to US. Highly recommended.

    • Open School
      Open School 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing my comments.

  • Tony B46qqq
    Tony B46qqq 5 years ago


  • northcacalacka545
    northcacalacka545 5 years ago +1

    AHH who gives a rat's ass. I have my God, my guns, and, AND my guts. Take all the pictures you want....

  • Exmech2
    Exmech2 5 years ago +1

    He lied, there are numerous laws against government hacking without court warrant. TED has fallen very low.

    • B1gHagar
      B1gHagar 5 years ago +1

      @Exmech2 Its a fact, Obama has changed Obamacare over 40 times. Its a fact that Bush allowed prisoners to be tortured. Do you even keep up with current events? Again with the insults. What are you in second grade?

    • Exmech2
      Exmech2 5 years ago +1

      You had no facts. Again, go back to the infowars rock you crawled out from under. Grow up, and get a REAL education. The conspiracy crap is is making you paranoid...again.

    • B1gHagar
      B1gHagar 5 years ago

      @Exmech2 What's wrong? Don't like the truth.
      Typical liberal. You can't argue facts so instead you decided to insulting me. Talk about uneducated.

    • Exmech2
      Exmech2 5 years ago +1

      Oh, go back to infowars or whatever other rock you crawled out from, come back with an education.

    • B1gHagar
      B1gHagar 5 years ago +2

      Obama has changed Obamacare over 40 times since it was enacted. Do you really think he cares about the law? What about George Bush? He found a way to perform torture and there are plenty of laws against that too.
      When presidents look to get around laws instead of enforcing them, you'll see abuses of power. This is just one more power the POTUS can abuse.

  • Exmech2
    Exmech2 5 years ago

    The quality of TED Talks has fallen significantly!

  • 77MAG
    77MAG 5 years ago

    ... Why do you care if they're watching you...? If you're not breaking the law, what does it matter?

    • 77MAG
      77MAG 5 years ago

      Dude, you ARE a sheep. Just because you follow a different shepherd doesn't make you any less of a follower; and you sure as hell aren't a leader.

    • Shaunt1
      Shaunt1 5 years ago

      Oh and I'm not sure why you hate people like me. I do not think so simply (more like accurately) "You are the bane of humanity's existence. Too bad most people here in the US are sheep like you." That is the moat insane shit I've ever read. Seems like divide & concur/hate. Since most of what I mentioned is true. If anything this tyrannical government & it's actions are the bane of humanity's existence. Also I'm defiantly not a sheep whether or not most of the people in the U.S. are.

    • Shaunt1
      Shaunt1 5 years ago +2

      @TehBKudder The government wasn't made to have absolute power over it's citizens. If they know everything you could possibly do, they can use that power to control every citizen. When a government no longer has to answer to it's citizens, they can do whatever they want, and that could be a dictatorship. No more free speech, no freedom really at all. I absolutely hate people like you who think so simply. You are the bane of humanity's existence. Too bad most people here in the US are sheep like you.
      Wow, what a comment! I know the government wasn't made to have absolute power & control over it's citizens (the people). But that is where they are heading & have been incrementally over the previous decades. The second part: Last I checked they don't answer much (if at all) to the people these days & they do indeed pretty much whatever they want. The last part: Yes, unfortunately as all of this expansion of government power is taking away our freedoms or at least threatening them.

    • 77MAG
      77MAG 5 years ago +2

      Yes... And YOU elected them into office. Congrats. I'm 20, haven't had time to screw us over yet.

    • Bryan K
      Bryan K 5 years ago +1

      The government wasn't made to have absolute power over it's citizens. If they know everything you could possibly do, they can use that power to control every citizen. When a government no longer has to answer to it's citizens, they can do whatever they want, and that could be a dictatorship. No more free speech, no freedom really at all. I absolutely hate people like you who think so simply. You are the bane of humanity's existence. Too bad most people here in the US are sheep like you.

  • John Ross
    John Ross 5 years ago

    Spare me.

  • Thomas Brooks
    Thomas Brooks 5 years ago

    If you have nothing to hide who cares. Flash the middle finger at your webcam time to time. Only the scumbags have anything to worry about.

    • weeral1
      weeral1 3 years ago

      +Thomas Brooks smh

  • Mat Broomfield
    Mat Broomfield 5 years ago

    Congratulations to these companies. You've killed the internet.

  • Mackle Palmeroy
    Mackle Palmeroy 5 years ago +52

    I have never once been afraid of getting blow up by someone but I am in terror of the the United States Government and Police every day.

    • Anaudopseudopodepanaps
      Anaudopseudopodepanaps 2 years ago +1

      UNRESTRICTED SURVEILLANCE MEANS THE STAGNATION OF ALL FUTURE PROGRESS. The biggest problem with surveillance is that it will inhibit any future change for the better. Most of the great revolutionaries and people who made a change for the better would now be called terrorists. If 500 years ago the World had had the kind of surveillance we have today we would still have the Inquisition as a form of law and the people in power would be the same.

  • Shketri
    Shketri 5 years ago +26

    ow man, once i saw the title i knew i had to watch it

  • discoHR
    discoHR 5 years ago +2

    i find the hacking part on all major OSs extremely hard to believe. it would be possible only if every single networking device on the market has undetectable backdoor added in factory.

    • 77MAG
      77MAG 5 years ago +2

      @discoHR I didn't say that MIGHT be how it's done. I stated a set of facts as to how it IS done, regardless of your opinion. Your firewall is about as impenetrable as tissue paper briefs in a gay bar when it comes to someone who wants your stuff bad enough to write mediocre invasion software.

    • discoHR
      discoHR 5 years ago

      @Kevin J. Dildonik i doubt it's about cloud. if target uses TNO cloud or regular cloud with pre-encryption (still TNO concept) they can't do anything with target's data in reasonable amount of time. they need full access on end-devices for what they claim they're doing.

    • discoHR
      discoHR 5 years ago

      @77MAG it can't do anything from the outside because of the firewalls and you can't make the target run it from the inside, you don't have physical access to the host to use rubberducky or similar attack to run it yourself. even if anyone runs it on target's host, it couldn't do anything to os because target's user account has no permissions to do so. it could work with security unaware and unprotected average joe who runs everything as superuser and have no clue what firewall and security updates are but that's about it. no, it must be something else.

    • DELEON
      DELEON 5 years ago

      Cool bro, The way hackers communicate these days is trough online gaming where they can remain anonymous ,government security agencies end up hacking each other without knowing trying to catch them ,hehehehehe

    • securityr1
      securityr1 5 years ago

      I responded to the wrong comment, interesting though

  • renthicya
    renthicya 5 years ago +1

    It is always the people's fault, because we're too ignorant and apathetic to do anything about it. We let them, why wouldn't they do it? They would be stupid not to do it when it clearly serves their interests and when there's nothing and noone who would show them otherwise.

  • Surfing On Squarewaves

    Time for society to go open source. Nothing to hide, and all that...

  • Surfing On Squarewaves

    Gamma Demo Version has detected nudity and has been disabled. Please purchase a valid licence to continue spying.

  • holdmybeer
    holdmybeer 5 years ago +6

    I put black tape on my webcam around 2007. My girlfriend thought I was paranoid.