"An Era of Profound Change"
A Review of "Black Code" by Nathan H. Box
Director: Nicholas de Pencier, Starring: Felipe Altenfeldor, Akinyele Caldwell, Adriana Castillo
Rating: 3 Stars, STREAM!
For my 10th film of the 43rd Annual Seattle International Film Festival, I chose a documentary providing some scope on democracy and security in the internet age. The proclaimed aim of this film is to "look at the global impact the internet has on free speech, privacy, and activism." For me, its goal was more broadly shaped.
Without a doubt, we are living in an age of profound change. With each passing year, more and more people are connected to the internet. Technology becomes cheaper and more readily available. More and more of our everyday activities are "revolutionized" due to mobile phones, apps, and our own dependency upon them. If used and operated with the best of intentions, our desktops, mobile phones, and the internet itself are wonderful tools. Unfortunately, man's intentions are often nefarious. We bend tools to our will and pervert their intended nature. Governments, hackers, and non-state sponsored groups are learning to use our "digital exhaust" against us.
Governments follow and spy on us. They use this information to keep a firm grasp on our speech and activism. Hackers hold our information hostage and can ruin our lives with a few key strokes. Non-state sponsored groups are swaying elections and fighting a new form of warfare in cyberspace. This is breeding a new sense of surveillance and sparking debates on privacy versus security. These are age old questions for any democracy but are further complicated in the digital age.
The purpose of this film is to make you aware of this ongoing dialogue, a discussion happening without our knowledge. Where this movie could have done a better job is exposing the fantastic work of citizen journalists working to push back and expose these conversations. The film gives them attention, but, in my opinion, not enough. For that, I think it worth a stream. When you do, I think you will be rewarded and pointed in the direction of further educating yourself; one of the true missions of any documentary film.
Be good to each other,