A scandal that would shock everyone — Well, almost everyone.
The documentary “The Great Hack” starts with David Carroll asking a class full of students “Who has seen an ad that has convinced you that your microphone is listening to your conversations?”. Almost everyone raises their hands.
It’s been more than a year since one of the biggest data and privacy scandals occurred. The data science firm Cambridge Analytica, or as the whistleblower Christopher Wylie would call them, a “full-serviced propaganda machine”, harvested personal data from Facebook without consent. Over 87 million people were affected and hyper-targeted with campaign ads for the presidential election 2016 in the US. Earlier this month, Facebook got fined with 5 billion dollars.
“The Great Hack” unfolds the true story of the data and privacy scandal in a narrative that is thrilling, but foremost frightening. Even if it all occurred not so long ago it’s easy to forget how bad it actually was, and still is. Netflix does what they do best and they succeed to make you stop and think about how exposed and fragile you actually are. For some people this documentary will be eye-opening and they will hopefully take action to regain control of their personal data. But how will they do it? Probably just by deleting their Facebook-account, and that is not enough.
But since i’m working for a company with privacy as a beacon I should be happy by the fact that the public will hopefully become more aware of privacy online and data ownership. But Netflix’s documentary has its problems. It treats the scandal as “chocking”and “how could this even happen” when exploitation of personal data and privacy has occurred long before the Cambridge Analytica-scandal.“The Great Hack” doesn’t approach the bigger picture that Silicon Valley is, and has been for a long long time, developing business models that are dependent on exploiting data.
“The Gods of Silicon Valley” are mentioned briefly by the Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr. She is demanding that they need to take responsibility for the sake of democracy. But will they actually listen when the tech industry been poisoned with greed for years and years? Will they actually listen when, as mentioned in the documentary, data has surpassed oil in value? Lets say this is not the first time companies are looking past human rights for own profit.
As said before, ”The Great Hack” is an excellent documentary but it’s just scratching the surface of what’s really going on. We are heading towards a surveillance society (If we’re not already there) that is beyond Facebook. We may never see change if we don’t consider data ownership and privacy online as human rights.
So what do we need? Regulations and laws that serves the people, and a sequel to Netflix’s “The Great Hack” that explores the dangerous path we are already walking on.
Oliver Paschetto Jensin, Community Manager at Zynapp