On-the-run government whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is living in exile in Russia, has aliens on his mind. In 2013, Snowden exposed the federal government's extensive, warrantless surveillance of everyday citizens.
Encryption is when one thing, like a series of numbers, is disguised to look like a totally different thing. Encryption is an incredibly useful tool, especially to protect your identity from hackers, cybercriminals and the government.
Snowden believes that aliens could be encrypting their signals, so it's possible space creatures are all around us and we'd never know it. He also believes that our increasing use of encryption could be hiding humans from aliens who want to communicate with us.
In case you're wondering, Snowden wasn't just killing time while in Russia. He was a guest on astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson's podcast, "Star Talk."
Tyson and Snowden had a wide-ranging interview that covered everything from the National Security Agency, to encryption, Isaac Newton, Ben Franklin, the Fourth Amendment and aliens.
With regard to the United States government spying on us, he told Tyson that the metadata the government collects has a lot more information about individual Americans than they claim. He also spoke about the U.S. government's Standard Form 312, the classified nondisclosure agreement that he violated.
As curious as all that was, it was how Tyson conducted his video interview with Snowden that really piqued the interest of tech geeks. Tyson used something called a beam remote presence system. It's essentially a robotic version of you beamed across the globe.
It is comparable to having a video chat with someone on Skype, if the computer you were looking at was 5-feet tall and rolled alongside you. It's connected by Wi-Fi and uses algorithms to prevent communication from breaking up as it rolls from one Wi-Fi connection to another.