RUSH: What do you mean, “What are they gonna do now if they can’t trust the pilots?” What’s who gonna do? (interruption) Oh, the euro weenies or the Europeans and us? What are we all gonna do if we can’t trust the pilots? Is that what you…? (interruption) You mean if you can’t trust the pilots to not crash the plane, what are we gonna do? (interruption) Well, I don’t know what are you gonna do?
What are you gonna do, if you don’t trust the pilots? My question the other day: If you think your pilot is gonna fly your plane into a mountain, you wouldn’t get on the plane, right? (interruption) Okay, so… (interruption) Well, you don’t know. That’s why you have to trust that the airlines and the government and everybody involved are doing proper background checks and finding out exactly who these people are and what extremist philosophies they attach themselves to. You need to do your best.
This is why governments will tell you they need to be able to “surveil.” This is why governments will tell you they need metadata. They need to be able to sweep up every bit of data they can to find bad actors like this. This is while they say we need to re-up the Patriot Act. “We need to make sure that we can continue to surveil everybody involved. This is how we found out.” The point is, they are doing that. They are surveilling. I don’t know about the Europeans.
I know they are. Everybody is. The NSA is surveilling. Metadata on your phone, people say, “There’s no data about who you’re talking to or what you’re saying anybody. Metadata is just the number you called, where you were when you made the call, and how long the call lasted.” That is surveillance. Eavesdropping is another matter. Eavesdropping would be being able to determine the content of these calls. But you can learn a lot of from surveillance.
Do you know what I saw the other day in one of my tech blogs? Have you ever wondered why so many apps that you buy on your App Store for your phone or your iPad — and this includes Android. Do you know why so many apps are free? You would not believe how often your personal data that that app collects is sold to advertisers and others who want it. In one instance, an average user of something like 23 apps were used in the example.
Their location data and other things about them — search data on their browsers– was sent out to 5,000 different entities. And that’s how the developers of free apps make money. They don’t make it selling the app to you. They sell whatever data on you your phone collects. And you can turn your location services off. You can do all that. But certain data like if you surf the Web, there’s metadata on a Web search, the websites you search. If you search porn sites, they’ll know.
If you search for people, they will know who you’re interested in. Who knows what they can tell from that kind of thing? They don’t have to hear you talking to somebody in order to find out what you’re up to, and this is the point that Edward Snowden was making when he released how the NSA does this. Okay, so your question is a valid question. “So how do we trust the pilots?”
Well, the agencies, government agencies and companies that employ them will use this as an example or as an excuse for their surveillance. Yeah, you have a good question. How do we know that pilot X isn’t gonna wake up one day and ram the plane into the side of a mountain? “Well, if we’re collecting all kinds of metadata on this guy, we’ll be able to know.” The point then becomes: They’ve got so much data on so many millions of people, how in the world can they use any of that as a preventative?
Let’s say they had been surveilling this flight crew, just as part of a sweep of everybody, and let’s say there is something to know about this pilot. Why didn’t they know it? I’m not gonna make anything up, but let’s say this guy does have sympathies to some extremist group. Why don’t they know it if all this surveillance is already going on? But the point is, your question is exactly the question that authorities will tell you is why they need to keep up this massive data collection.
It’s to be able to identify the bad actors in our society and to be able to shut them down before they engage in any activity like this, to be able to identify ’em in advance. Apple and Google and Evernote and Facebook and Twitter and a whole bunch have just sent a letter that they’re all signatories to, begging the NSA and to Obama and Congress not re-up the Patriot Act. These companies saying (summarized), “Our customers do not want all of this data collected on them, and we think you ought to not re-up the Patriot Act.
“9/11 was a long time ago, you don’t need to keep behaving as though 9/11 happened last week.” There’s a lot happening in this area. But when I saw the area about all of the app developers that make available the data information of their customers, I think a lot of people assume they’re being spied on all the time. A lot of people are paranoid and think they’re being spied on all the time. It’d be wise to assume so if you’re worried that you’ll be discovered and found out and then whatever is found out about you publicized,.
You know, people are worried about potential criminality or the embarrassment of that. But the ability that people have now of collecting data on people is a direct result of all of this connectivity. It’s just a natural by-product of it. I don’t know you put this genie back in the bottle other than not use any of the tech. You know, write in longhand or use a typewriter. Don’t use a computer, never log on to the Internet, don’t ever make a cell phone call.
I mean, that’s really what you would have to do now, in order to be as invisible as you could be. Even at that, look now at the desire some car companies — well, governments, actually. Governments are demanding or asking for car companies put little black boxes in the cars. Everybody’s cars. You know what kind of information that black box is gonna broadcast? They’re gonna know it’s your car.
They’re gonna know everywhere that car goes. They’re gonna know how fast that car was driven, any number of things. That’s metadata, too, from that they can put together a pretty good profile of the owner. They know where the owner goes. Say the owners go into the KitKat Club 17 times a week. It doesn’t take much to find out what is the KitKat Club and find out what goes on in there, and if you’re going there 17 times a week they can pretty much figure out (without ever being there) what you’re doing there.
So the metadata can be converted with good probability to an indication of your own activity without actually being eavesdropped. Surveillance and eavesdropping are two different things. You gotta think of the metadata as surveillance. Look, if you went out and you hired a private detective. Snerdley, let’s say that you had, oh, I don’t know, a personal chef that you thought was stealing from you. So you want to go hire private detective to find out.
You could have the private detective surveil your employee or eavesdrop. Now if you want to eavesdrop, you’re gonna find out how to bug your employee’s phones, plant microphones in the employee’s house and maybe in yours in rooms the employee operates. If you just want to survival, that means the private eye just follows ’em around and reports to you where they go. And you take your pick what kind of service you want from the private eye.
Surveillance… The point is, metadata is surveillance and you can learn a lot from that. The government says, “It’s just metadata. Don’t worry, it’s just the phone numbers and the dates and the lengths of the conversation; nothing about what you’re talking about.” Yeah, but if you’re calling the KitKat Club or whatever, there’s all the you can learn from metadata. So I… (interruption) Well… (interruption) The privacy is not… I don’t think is a relevant thing any… That’s not the correct word.
I think privacy is something that’s genuinely achievable unless you become a hermit and live alone and don’t interact with people. That’s not the question, really. Before I answer that, let me get to your question about how do we trust the pilots. I guarantee you, the answer you gave was what we’re gonna hear at some point. These government authorities and the airlines, the businesses that hire pilots, are going to say, “Great question. That’s a perfectly legitimate question for any of our customers to ask.
“We want you to be able to get on every airline flight of ours with full confidence that our pilots are not gonna fly that plane into the ground on purpose. The only way we can do that is to be able to collect as much information on all of our employees as possible.” You’re gonna say, “Yeah, that makes sense,” because you’re talking about your life. You have scales here. If you’re gonna get on an airplane, you want to be assured the pilot isn’t gonna fly you to your death.
The company says, “We can pretty much guarantee it because we have ever bit of data and information on our pilots that you could possibly have. We have what they’ve told us, and we can relatively, safely, assure you.” If they’ve done that, if they can assure you because of surveillance, are you gonna say, “You know, I’m not flying your airline! You’re surveilling your own employees! Well, screw you!” Or are you gonna get on the airplane thinking it’s safe because they do that?
You’ll probably get on the airplane because you’ll not worry about the surveillance, because it wasn’t of you. It was of the employee, the pilot. But this whole notion of privacy… (interruption) Yeah, I understand. I understand. Where you go should be your business and nobody else’s, but it already is somebody else’s business if you live with anybody. Look, I’m up against the clock. I gotta take a break here. I’m up against it on time. And I just had a brilliant point that I was gonna make about this and it slipped my mind just in a flash, so hopefully it will come back to me. It was about privacy and all that.
RUSH: I want to make a point here about this pilot, the copilot of the Germanwings airline crash. Even if the copilot is not/was not a jihadist, even if he was not an Islamist extremist, he wouldn’t have been able to keep the pilot out of the cockpit if not for the extra security due to terrorism. So you could say, whether this guy was a jihadist or not, that terrorism played a role in the crash. Because it’s terrorism that makes it impossible to get into that cockpit once you lock that door.
It’s to keep the bad actors out of there. In this case, the door was locked by the bad actor to keep the good guy out, all because of our efforts to fight terrorism. So he… Look, it’s a fine point, but it’s still worthwhile. The guy does not have to have been a jihadist for there to have been a terrorist component to this, and that component is the reason why that door was locked and impenetrably so. It’s just in this case, it kept the good guy out and the bad guy in.