How The First Ever Telecoms Scam Worked

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Tom Scott
Tom Scott - Year ago
Quick tip if you ever go to France: don't let the rental car company give you a free upgrade to an SUV. SUVs do not fit well on tiny rural French roads.
E - 15 days ago
Ah but do they fit well on tiny rural French *off*roads?
Dusty 99
Dusty 99 - 16 days ago
@Jesus Gonzalez Stupid boy.
Matthew Watson
Matthew Watson - 18 days ago
That's why it was free, haha
Stefan Kooij
Stefan Kooij - 25 days ago
France is a very nice country, too bad the French live there....
SoloTraceur - Month ago
@12799MaDeuce Citroen 2CV
Steven Victor Neiman
Steven Victor Neiman - 22 minutes ago
I personally think that high frequency trading should be banned by making the stock exchange run only once every 15 minutes. Sure, there'd still be people using computers to make money, but it would be at a fraction the rate and it would at least reward the best models rather than the fastest lines.
If someone can literally say that their job is to harvest money from the economy, the system is broken.
JudeMatt12 - 9 days ago
1000th comment damn
Retro Forger
Retro Forger - 9 days ago
reminds me of lord of the rings
Liam - 10 days ago
It's the Clacks from discworld!
Yo wut
Yo wut - 10 days ago
Funny thing, that merchant owns every central bank in the world now. How amazing is that
Jonathon Ward
Jonathon Ward - 11 days ago
Very clever! They were dodgy AF...but very clever nonetheless!
Kimmo Laine
Kimmo Laine - 11 days ago
If my memory serves, The Count of Monte Cristo has a segment about this sort of forging the message sent via relays. That was published in 1844-1846, so was it inspired by real events?
Joseph Huckaby
Joseph Huckaby - 16 days ago
The main thing I got from this is that the Clacks network is real.
Teflon Smile
Teflon Smile - 16 days ago
They now create apps like Robinhood 📐🇺🇲💥 they delay financial information for their gain, claiming they are protecting "liquidity" and its 100% legal 🇺🇲😉🧠🤣
michael lavery
michael lavery - 17 days ago
Is this not related to the modern day misinterpretated science paper that they found a way to send signals faster than the speed of light? Some financial institution invested billions into it only to discover someone did their sums wrong.
michael lavery
michael lavery - 17 days ago
Josepi Verdi = Joe Green.
Z's Life
Z's Life - 17 days ago
Honestly who'd vote for Tom Scott as Prime Minister? I legit feel like this dude could put UK on the top of the world.
WhAT d0
WhAT d0 - 18 days ago
No one:
Me: Ah yes, like the survey corps with the smoke signals in attack on titan
Michael Graham
Michael Graham - 18 days ago
It's basically the clacks from discworld
Hubert Blastinoff
Hubert Blastinoff - 18 days ago
I'd like alt-history that explores what the Romans could've done with technology like that...
Garnet Nard
Garnet Nard - 19 days ago
This scam is actually one of the ways Dante’s exacts revenge in his enemies in The Count Of Monte Cristo.
It sounds like a line of people shouting the message to the next guy down the line. What if one station got it slightly wrong? Or you could just stand there and intercept the message
B Lisles
B Lisles - 20 days ago
The Clacks!!! Or kinda.
Dudofall - 20 days ago
This sounds like the clacks from Discworld. - 22 days ago
On south side Chicago there is a shopping mall called Ford City where bomber engines were manufactured for ww2. They now make Tootsie Rolls. Maybe a place to look at if in the area.
Frost Quake
Frost Quake - 22 days ago
Vivian Fox
Vivian Fox - 22 days ago
Wow the clacks are real!
C. R. Ryan
C. R. Ryan - 23 days ago
When you find out Terry Pratchett wasnt making this stuff up.
MrIronJustice - 23 days ago
Should be 19th and 20th century. People forget that when you say 18th century you are talking about the 1700s.
B B - 24 days ago
Were carrier pigeons not reliable enough?
Mr pumpkin 🎃
Mr pumpkin 🎃 - 24 days ago
You tell a story very nicely
Luke Freeman
Luke Freeman - 25 days ago
I've legit watched this video three times. It's just so fascinating.
Jules Van Den Berg
Jules Van Den Berg - 27 days ago
I know I'm terribly late on this video, but maybe you'll see this comment somehow...
The "speed is money" thing in economy is what made SpaceX company investso much money in their internet satelites constellation. Behind great values of providing cheap and relible internet worldwide, he's planning on making a huge lot of money by saving trading companies a few milliseconds on delay compared to optic cable under the oceans.
That would make for a great episode, sequel of this one I think.
And sorry for the odd sentences and mistakes, I'm not a native speaker. Loved this episode btw, as a french person I knew about semaphores but not about this scam!
Chesseman969 Boss
Chesseman969 Boss - 27 days ago
This felt like the 'clacks' from Going Postal and the signal the 'protagonists' used at the end.
The Foodening
The Foodening - Month ago
Awesome info
Morgan - Month ago
I just cant believe a system like this even existed at all, and that it's not a bigger deal! It really does sound steampunk.
Mads Hansen
Mads Hansen - Month ago
1:20 I would have been scared if I got a message looking like this
Tom Drabek
Tom Drabek - Month ago
Favorite living brit
Do Nut
Do Nut - Month ago
Ah. The sound of roaring traffic
Good work
True River
True River - Month ago
Also known as the clacks (though the exact method is not by semaphore arms, but it still counts as an optical telegraph)
Robert Horwat
Robert Horwat - Month ago
Jaw droppingly brilliant episode👍👍👍
Bill Jarvis
Bill Jarvis - Month ago
You cheat!! I have a cottage in the Sud Tourainne, so it always piques my interest when the area is mentioned. However, after much searching. I have come to the conclusion you were not reporting from the Optical Semaphore route you were talking about!...You were in Marcy. Over by Clermont Ferrand...a different semaphore route all together. A bit like reporting about a story set in Liverpool but filming in Bradford.....bah
JonatasAdoM - Month ago
Oh France, sees tha towers have great private potential.
What do they do?
Ban anyone from ever using one.
Doctor Kusachki
Doctor Kusachki - Month ago
btw it goes like "Blan", because of some french reading rules.
Eliah Podulke
Eliah Podulke - Month ago
This scam was adapted in les miserable
jonnda - Month ago
looks almost like an att long lines tower.
Muhammad Mubashirullah
A plot similar to this was used in the Count of Monte Cristo.
Elan Wan
Elan Wan - Month ago
Tom in the intro: talks
Cars: imma bout to end this mans whole career
Great vid btw
Domestic Cat
Domestic Cat - Month ago
You forgot the most awesome optical telegram: the Byzantine beacon system
Jack Snyder
Jack Snyder - Month ago
yannsa - Month ago
I am from Tours ! came across this video and had no idea this happened
The Bearded Dog
The Bearded Dog - Month ago
I always enjoy your videos. This one, especially so. Thanks for brightening up my day.
KidJV - Month ago
0:45 thank god you went to a less noisy place haha
Sterling Archer
Sterling Archer - Month ago
Somebody call Moist Von Lipwig
Michael Flynn
Michael Flynn - 2 months ago
WAIT?! The Discworld clacks is real?!
Ketan Bhave
Ketan Bhave - 2 months ago
And the Chinese had done it 100s of years earlier.
(great wall of China)
Eee Eee
Eee Eee - 2 months ago
Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall - 2 months ago
Amazing. Thanks.
PeterT1981 - 2 months ago
Remarkable production. Your delivery is very engaging and professional. I enjoy your work immensely
Stephen - 2 months ago
Love your videos but I’m so confused at how old you are? Like it’s bothering me so much bro, are you 23? Or are you 50?
King Louis 69
King Louis 69 - 2 months ago
I love this , brilliant story 👍🏼
DD - 2 months ago
"Getting advantage? You're being too kind. You should've called it what is is: LEGAL INSIDE TRADING. STEALING. UNFAIR TRADING. It's 100% LEGAL because they're ALL IN IT.
Jagjit Roudh
Jagjit Roudh - 2 months ago
I love you Tom Scott. Also, I'm drunk.
Alice Cecil
Alice Cecil - 2 months ago
dirty freaking capitalists
Clockwork Kirlia
Clockwork Kirlia - 2 months ago
Aha! This is the smoking GNU and Hacking the Clacks! Love it. Really fascinating video.
You guys know the drill, we mentioned semaphore so let's encode us something up and down the line...
GNU Terry Pratchett
dontlikemath -.-
dontlikemath -.- - 2 months ago
These guys were phreaking before it was cool
Indy Rock
Indy Rock - 2 months ago
Very interesting. Thanks
0Hugh0 0Jass0
0Hugh0 0Jass0 - 2 months ago
.*clap* *it is warm here*
Jon Campbell
Jon Campbell - 2 months ago
GNU Terry Pratchett
Topher TheTenth
Topher TheTenth - 2 months ago
Recently when I posted a comment I'd see it twice in the list of comments. This has been the case for several days now. When I've caught it I've deleted one of them. Just now I saw a comment that I just posted listed I guess 64 times. I'm trying to figure out what's going on. This is not really a comment about this video so maybe this is out of bounds, but I feel that people who watch Tom Scott's videos MIGHT know what is going on here, so I will leave this musing in place. I mean, if this were a video about Jane Austen I wouldn't leave this here. But y'all might help. I will see if THIS comment appears more than once in the list of comments.
Rider0fBuffalo - 2 months ago
I love the semaphore story in The Count of Monte Cristo. Also "Flash Boys" is a good read about the lawless micro trading at the turn of the century in the States.
online tuna
online tuna - 3 months ago
I'm confused how this scam worked. How did the package of clothes reach Tours before the semaphore signal did?
Did the towers take such a long time to transmit the large amounts of information that you could beat it in this way?
Does that mean the postal system was faster at transmitting single pieces of information than the towers?
Steve Matson
Steve Matson - 3 months ago
Hackers gonna hack
Wolf Elkan
Wolf Elkan - 3 months ago
Wolf Elkan
Wolf Elkan - 3 months ago
1:27, well the actual transmission was. It just got slowed down by the human operators.
Loccyster - 3 months ago
'Thank you to Victoria Harrison who spent a lot of time in the archives researching.
Any errors in retelling are mine and not hers'
Message received.
Investing in rubber duckies ASAP!
boiledelephant - 3 months ago
Oh, Tom, just get commissioned by the BBC already. You've earned it.
Jan Pieter Wagenaar
Jan Pieter Wagenaar - 3 months ago
you should add there is a seperate fibre line implemented accross the siberian railway finaced by some banks to know a fraction of a second earlier than their competitors the movement of the stocks and exchanges between london and tokio. to make trades quicker than when one goes the other route.
Brad Armstrong
Brad Armstrong - 4 months ago
Great story - love the old tech and your efforts to find out as near as possible what really happened. Funny how everyone thinks they have such original schemes -- I'll bet someone tried something like this in other ways prior even to this ...
Sharath R
Sharath R - 4 months ago
Worldsedge - 5 months ago
That’s a cool one.
Akrinor Noname
Akrinor Noname - 5 months ago
GNU Terry Pratchett
legoman7041 - 5 months ago
Some dumbass tried to do this on Robinhood a couple months ago
Brendan McCabe
Brendan McCabe - 6 months ago
Still part of hyper capitalism you bootlicker
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