Rattner may have been plugging Intel's digital radio technology that he described at IDF. He said that rather than shrink a traditional analog radio, they have reimplemented the basic math digitally. That lets them build radios on digital logic processes, and reap the benefits of CMOS scaling.
A sound bite for sure, but interesting technology.
“We still build a lot of the wireless radios using techniques that date back about 120-130 years, ...”
Sometimes people feel the need to utter sound bites, for dramatic effect. Honestly, aside from the basic electromagnetic theory which has remained stable in the past 130 years, I can't agree with that comment. Nor do I know what that has to do with security.
Radios used only analog AM or CW 130 years ago, single carriers, electromechanical tubes, mechanical tuning capacitors, and could not exploit multiple propagation paths in the same channel. Not sure how that is similar to anything in a laptop, tablet, or a cell phone, aside from Maxwell's equations.
Security is an interesting item. Governments want to be able to access your "secure" messages if they feel the need. Some people are totally paranoid about others accessing their information. Others broadcast their information with no care as to whom might access it.
I agree, certain things should be secure, but at the same time, we need to know if someone is using the media to plan an unlawful act. The dilema is not an easy one to resolve.
Never tell a friend that which you would not have your enemy know.
The fact is that the laws of physics have not changed for considerably more than 130 years, and wave propagation is the same as it was 130 years ago. Why is that a problem? Or was the whole thing just part of the scheme to sell some new product recently developed?
As for security of devices, the solution is simple, which is that users should use some thought to where they leave them. And don't let a 5-year old use the smartphone. The mechanism for keeping things secure is to never store the information on a physical device. Spoken words only. No, nothing that uses radio communication is secure, remember that and live with it. Those who believed that the early cell phones were private were so very mislead. How could anybody believe that information and conversations being broadcast were private? The letdown was the result of not having any understanding of the technology, usually by choice. People were just too lazy to bother to read all of the fine print.
Telling folks that some technology is really secure is not doing them any favor, since there is always somebody around who will hack away to the means to get at the hidden information. It always works that way, as we have seen repeatedly over the years.