That breath you feel on the back of your neck belongs to Big Brother. In the aftermath of whistleblower Edward Snowden's frightening revelations, it's become clear that the era of privacy is dead. The Bureau of Digital Sabotage examines this new reality, and offers commentary on how we can regain a sense of empowerment in our modern digital age.
Your digital footprint can be tracked and analyzed with ease by government agencies, big corporations, or the highest bidder. Texts, emails, phone calls and social media activities leave everyone vulnerable to exposure. The camera on your smart phone can be activated remotely. Your purchasing habits can be accessed and interpreted by advertising interests. With a few strokes of a keyboard, figures of power can watch and predict your every move. It's the stuff of cautionary science fiction novels from decades ago, only now it has become the norm.
As radicalized terror plots continue to grip the world, society is contending with a growing paranoia. In this volatile and uncertain environment, we've become more accepting of these invasions of privacy. Some might even consider their compliance to be a patriotic duty.
Meanwhile, spy tools are cheaper than ever before, and there's no limit to the amount of personal information available to national security agencies. Good intentions may soon turn to unnecessary mass surveillance. If a law abiding citizen chooses to stay off the grid, they could inspire greater suspicion.
That's how it starts. A practice that may seem benign at first can quickly morph into something far more nefarious and damaging. Our data can be sold, and our every behavior can become part of a global algorithm. Democracy begins to crumble as our every move is observed and eventually dictated by outside interests.
Too much of the conversation has revolved around the levels of infringement the public should accept. According to many of the experts represented in the film, we should first consider our rights as citizens and consumers in this brave new world of digital technology.
The Bureau of Digital Sabotage is a handsomely produced and intelligently structured debate on these crucial issues.
Directed by: Marije Meerman