Review: 'The Power of Privacy'

To mark Data Protection Day 2016, The Guardian and US-tech company Silent Circle have joined forces to create a thought-provoking short film raising awareness of the current situation of data security and what may be in store for both individuals and enterprises in the future.

Rob Smith, CMO of Silent Circle, told Infosecurity that the inspiration for the documentary was to create a piece off innovative, shareable content that spreads the message that cybersecurity is a massive, global issue that must be taken seriously.

“Our hope is that everyone who sees the film will not only learn a bit more about this topic, but will also think twice before doing something that could impact on their privacy and online security.”

The Power of Privacy’ follows well-known psychologist and journalist Aleks Krotoski as she embarks on an adventure across the world to delve into the intricacies of digital life in the 21st century. As she explores the complexities of privacy Aleks takes us on a whistle-stop tour through time revealing just how technological advances such as the invention of the chimney, photography and home internet access have led us to the privacy dependent world we know today. 

Great credit must be given to the creators, as although the documentary is brief (just under 30 minutes) it certainly uses its time well to explore some fascinating topics. 

The film highlights just how much of our personal information is stored online, and brings to light the ease with which a large amount of data can be acquired in a very short amount of time (both legally and illegally). 
It also shows that despite the fact that a lot of the personal information an individual shares online is uploaded knowingly (holiday pictures, where we celebrated our last birthday) it’s possible for far more sensitive data, such as previous addresses and details of our assets, to be online without our knowledge, as Aleks discovers. This begs the question of how effectively organizations are handling their privacy policies, a recurrent theme in the documentary.

Moving on from the present Aleks takes an intriguing, if slightly disconcerting peek into the future and how privacy threats may become an even greater issue as technology continues to develop, especially within the home. 

The film features a ‘Smart Home’ bursting with domestic IOT applications such as curtains that raise themselves, toilets that check your health and tell you if you are pregnant and fridges that restock themselves, hardware that are likely to be commonplace throughout Western households in the not too distant future. Whilst these are incredible inventions that would not be out of place in a science fiction movie, Aleks reveals how the use of sensors, cameras and data collecting technology could be targeted by hackers and used to invade our privacy like never before. Imagine a cyber-criminal being able to survey not just your personal details, but your every move in your own home…a terrifying prospect. 

At the heart of this documentary is a simple message: with new technological breakthroughs constantly at our fingertips privacy needs to be at the forefront of the minds of both consumers and developers, and not just an afterthought. 

Rob Smith added:

“This video is all about bringing privacy and data security to life – using real, thought-provoking stories and contributors to highlight the threats out there and delve into one of the most important issues of our time.

"We need to ensure that people are aware of the problem – whether that be data security threats, unsafe online behavior, privacy violating software etc – before we can effectively start talking to them about the solutions.” 

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