Encryption Makes Us Impossible To Communicate With Aliens, Says Snowden

Edward Snowden says encryption might be reason why we can't talk to aliens and is what makes it impossible to distinguish signals of alien species from cosmic microwave back ground radiation.

Human beings have undertaken countless attempts to make a communication with extra terrestrial beings. So far, attempts such as – crop triangle and burning canals, arecibo message, concentrated light and telepathy, which is arguably the most publicized attempts at communicating with aliens – have all gone in vain. Perhaps, if aliens were already among us, we would not have quite wasted our efforts this much.

But what makes our attempts go wasted? The US government whistleblower Edward Snowden thinks it is due to encryption.

Edward Snowden - Encryption Makes Us Impossible To Communicate With Aliens

In an interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on his StarTalk podcast, Edward Snowden talked about the possibility that data encryption might be making signals from alien species indistinguishable from cosmic microwave background radiation which in turn making it difficult or even impossible to intercept communications from aliens.

“If you look at encrypted communication, if they are properly encrypted, there is no real way to tell that they are encrypted. You can’t distinguish a properly encrypted communication from random behaviour.” said Edward Snowden.

He said that as human and alien societies get more sophisticated, both societies would realize that encryption is necessary.

“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 their communication will be sent via the most primitive and most unprotected means.”

“When we think about everything we’re hearing from our satellites, or everything they’re hearing from our civilization, if there are indeed aliens out there, all of their communications are encrypted by default. So what we’re hearing — which is actually an alien television show or a phone call or a message between their planet and their own GPS constellation, whatever it happens to be — is indistinguishable to us from cosmic microwave background radiation.”

To the Snowden’s statement above, Tyson replied, “Only if they have the same security problems as us.”

Snowden conjectures that he might have an answer to the Fermi paradox. He also thinks that aliens might be politically a little bit more enlightened than we are.

Hat Tip: StarTalk, The Verge, The Guardian


  1. I have to believe if aliens are so much more advanced and all of their communication is encrypted in such a way that we can never detect it, they might be able to encrypt their presence here on the planet as well! Guess we’d never know. Great post!

  2. 100 years from now, all our data may travel by fiber optics and there will be no broad-cast. Hyphenated to remind everyone what the etymology means. It’s very wasteful to spray energy all over the place when you only need it to go to a few places. As it is, encryption is only part of the problem. We’d have no trouble recognizing signals as artificial even if they were utterly unintelligible. By analyzing repeating patterns over time, we’d be able to work out the rotation speed and diameter of the planet, the length of its year and the radius of its orbit. We’d also be able to draw a crude map of the planet’s emission sources.

    1. Totally accept to what you stated. Human abilities and endeavors have no boundaries and anything is possible. Well, it can be applied to aliens too and they may one day be able to decrypt what’s encrypted. Thanks for the comment. It’s great seeing you here. 🙂

  3. Lets face it, ET never will communicate with us. No sign of intelligent life here. If they have picked up some of our television shows. One like Jerry Springer and others. 🙂

    But seriously, making contact will change our lives on so many levels.

  4. Good. We’re not smart enough, advanced enough, powerful or savvy enough to meet another, smarter, more advanced, more powerful, more savvy species.

    If we advertise our presence, what makes us think aliens wouldn’t be more interested in plundering and ‘managing’ the Earth, and human and non-human populations, the same way we plunder and ‘manage’ our own natural lands, indigenous peoples and wildlife populations? Greater intelligence or power does not automatically translate to increased empathy, compassion or altruism.

    Just to opposite, it seems. Sad.

    Let’s learn to live more kindly here, to save and protect our environment and biodiversity, to respect the rights of other species and in general learn to be better, less selfish stewards of our own planet, before we go blundering forth to open the Pandora’s Box of alien contact.

What Do You Think?