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  • I study the future

  • of crime and terrorism,

  • and frankly, I'm afraid.

  • I'm afraid by what I see.

  • I sincerely want to believe

  • that technology can bring us

  • the techno-utopia that we've been promised,

  • but, you see,

  • I've spent a career in law enforcement,

  • and that's informed my perspective on things.

  • I've been a street police officer,

  • an undercover investigator,

  • a counter-terrorism strategist,

  • and I've worked in more than 70 countries

  • around the world.

  • I've had to see more than my fair share

  • of violence and the darker underbelly of society,

  • and that's informed my opinions.

  • My work with criminals and terrorists

  • has actually been highly educational.

  • They have taught me a lot, and I'd like to be able

  • to share some of these observations with you.

  • Today I'm going to show you the flip side

  • of all those technologies that we marvel at,

  • the ones that we love.

  • In the hands of the TED community,

  • these are awesome tools which will bring about

  • great change for our world,

  • but in the hands of suicide bombers,

  • the future can look quite different.

  • I started observing

  • technology and how criminals were using it

  • as a young patrol officer.

  • In those days, this was the height of technology.

  • Laugh though you will,

  • all the drug dealers and gang members

  • with whom I dealt had one of these

  • long before any police officer I knew did.

  • Twenty years later, criminals are still using

  • mobile phones, but they're also building

  • their own mobile phone networks,

  • like this one, which has been deployed

  • in all 31 states of Mexico by the narcos.

  • They have a national encrypted

  • radio communications system.

  • Think about that.

  • Think about the innovation that went into that.

  • Think about the infrastructure to build it.

  • And then think about this:

  • Why can't I get a cell phone signal in San Francisco? (Laughter)

  • How is this possible? (Laughter) It makes no sense. (Applause)

  • We consistently underestimate

  • what criminals and terrorists can do.

  • Technology has made our world

  • increasingly open, and for the most part,

  • that's great, but all of this openness

  • may have unintended consequences.

  • Consider the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai.

  • The men that carried that attack out were armed

  • with AK-47s, explosives and hand grenades.

  • They threw these hand grenades

  • at innocent people as they sat eating in cafes

  • and waited to catch trains on their way home from work.

  • But heavy artillery is nothing new in terrorist operations.

  • Guns and bombs are nothing new.

  • What was different this time

  • is the way that the terrorists used

  • modern information communications technologies

  • to locate additional victims and slaughter them.

  • They were armed with mobile phones.

  • They had BlackBerries.

  • They had access to satellite imagery.

  • They had satellite phones, and they even had night vision goggles.

  • But perhaps their greatest innovation was this.

  • We've all seen pictures like this

  • on television and in the news. This is an operations center.

  • And the terrorists built their very own op center

  • across the border in Pakistan,

  • where they monitored the BBC,

  • al Jazeera, CNN and Indian local stations.

  • They also monitored the Internet and social media

  • to monitor the progress of their attacks

  • and how many people they had killed.

  • They did all of this in real time.

  • The innovation of the terrorist operations center

  • gave terrorists unparalleled situational awareness

  • and tactical advantage over the police

  • and over the government.

  • What did they do with this?

  • They used it to great effect.

  • At one point during the 60-hour siege,

  • the terrorists were going room to room

  • trying to find additional victims.

  • They came upon a suite on the top floor

  • of the hotel, and they kicked down the door

  • and they found a man hiding by his bed.

  • And they said to him, "Who are you,

  • and what are you doing here?"

  • And the man replied,

  • "I'm just an innocent schoolteacher."

  • Of course, the terrorists knew

  • that no Indian schoolteacher stays at a suite in the Taj.

  • They picked up his identification,

  • and they phoned his name in to the terrorist war room,

  • where the terrorist war room Googled him,

  • and found a picture and called their operatives

  • on the ground and said,

  • "Your hostage, is he heavyset?

  • Is he bald in front? Does he wear glasses?"

  • "Yes, yes, yes," came the answers.

  • The op center had found him and they had a match.

  • He was not a schoolteacher.

  • He was the second-wealthiest businessman in India,

  • and after discovering this information,

  • the terrorist war room gave the order

  • to the terrorists on the ground in Mumbai.

  • ("Kill him.")

  • We all worry about our privacy settings

  • on Facebook,

  • but the fact of the matter is,

  • our openness can be used against us.

  • Terrorists are doing this.

  • A search engine can determine

  • who shall live and who shall die.

  • This is the world that we live in.

  • During the Mumbai siege,

  • terrorists were so dependent on technology

  • that several witnesses reported that

  • as the terrorists were shooting hostages with one hand,

  • they were checking their mobile phone messages

  • in the very other hand.

  • In the end, 300 people were gravely wounded

  • and over 172 men, women and children

  • lost their lives that day.

  • Think about what happened.

  • During this 60-hour siege on Mumbai,

  • 10 men armed not just with weapons,

  • but with technology,

  • were able to bring a city of 20 million people

  • to a standstill.

  • Ten people brought 20 million people

  • to a standstill, and this traveled around the world.

  • This is what radicals can do with openness.

  • This was done nearly four years ago.

  • What could terrorists do today

  • with the technologies available that we have?

  • What will they do tomorrow?

  • The ability of one to affect many

  • is scaling exponentially,

  • and it's scaling for good and it's scaling for evil.

  • It's not just about terrorism, though.

  • There's also been a big paradigm shift in crime.

  • You see, you can now commit more crime as well.

  • In the old days, it was a knife and a gun.

  • Then criminals moved to robbing trains.

  • You could rob 200 people on a train, a great innovation.

  • Moving forward, the Internet

  • allowed things to scale even more.

  • In fact, many of you will remember

  • the recent Sony PlayStation hack.

  • In that incident, over 100 million people were robbed.

  • Think about that.

  • When in the history of humanity

  • has it ever been possible for one person

  • to rob 100 million?

  • Of course, it's not just about stealing things.

  • There are other avenues of technology

  • that criminals can exploit.

  • Many of you will remember this super cute video

  • from the last TED,

  • but not all quadcopter swarms are so nice and cute.

  • They don't all have drumsticks.

  • Some can be armed with HD cameras

  • and do countersurveillance on protesters,

  • or, as in this little bit of movie magic,

  • quadcopters can be loaded with firearms

  • and automatic weapons.

  • Little robots are cute when they play music to you.

  • When they swarm and chase you down the block

  • to shoot you, a little bit less so.

  • Of course, criminals and terrorists weren't the first

  • to give guns to robots. We know where that started.

  • But they're adapting quickly.

  • Recently, the FBI arrested

  • an al Qaeda affiliate in the United States,

  • who was planning on using these remote-controlled

  • drone aircraft to fly C4 explosives

  • into government buildings in the United States.

  • By the way, these travel at over 600 miles an hour.

  • Every time a new technology is being introduced,

  • criminals are there to exploit it.

  • We've all seen 3D printers.

  • We know with them that you can print

  • in many materials ranging from plastic

  • to chocolate to metal and even concrete.

  • With great precision

  • I actually was able to make this

  • just the other day, a very cute little ducky.

  • But I wonder to myself,

  • for those people that strap bombs to their chests

  • and blow themselves up,

  • how might they use 3D printers?

  • Perhaps like this.

  • You see, if you can print in metal,

  • you can print one of these,

  • and in fact

  • you can also print one of these too.

  • The UK I know has some very strict firearms laws.

  • You needn't bring the gun into the UK anymore.

  • You just bring the 3D printer

  • and print the gun while you're here,

  • and, of course, the magazines for your bullets.

  • But as these get bigger in the future,

  • what other items will you be able to print?

  • The technologies are allowing bigger printers.

  • As we move forward,

  • we'll see new technologies also, like the Internet of Things.

  • Every day we're connecting more and more of our lives

  • to the Internet, which means

  • that the Internet of Things will soon be

  • the Internet of Things To Be Hacked.

  • All of the physical objects in our space

  • are being transformed into information technologies,

  • and that has a radical implication for our security,

  • because more connections to more devices

  • means more vulnerabilities.

  • Criminals understand this.

  • Terrorists understand this. Hackers understand this.

  • If you control the code, you control the world.

  • This is the future that awaits us.

  • There has not yet been an operating system

  • or a technology that hasn't been hacked.

  • That's troubling, since the human body itself

  • is now becoming an information technology.

  • As we've seen here, we're transforming ourselves into cyborgs.

  • Every year, thousands of cochlear implants,

  • diabetic pumps, pacemakers

  • and defibrillators are being implanted in people.

  • In the United States, there are 60,000 people

  • who have a pacemaker that connects to the Internet.

  • The defibrillators allow a physician at a distance

  • to give a shock to a heart

  • in case a patient needs it.

  • But if you don't need it,

  • and somebody else gives you the shock,

  • it's not a good thing.

  • Of course, we're going to go even deeper than the human body.

  • We're going down to the cellular level these days.

  • Up until this point, all the technologies

  • I've been talking about have been silicon-based, ones and zeroes,

  • but there's another operating system out there:

  • the original operating system, DNA.

  • And to hackers, DNA is just another operating system

  • waiting to be hacked.

  • It's a great challenge for them.

  • There are people already working on hacking the software of life,