Hacking The Future: Four Essential Documentaries on How the Internet Destroys Freedom and Privacy

The internet is the Pandora’s Box of privacy and freedom. On one hand, it has transformed society, allowing for unprecedented access to information, entertainment, communication and social networking. Our lives today are as much online as real. Our transfixed glaze into the screens of smart phones, tablets and computers is reflective of a full engagement in what the internet offers. Like a magical crystal ball, it has seduced humanity, leaving us vulnerable and exposed to its dark side. And the dark side is more pernicious today than ever and shows no sign of retreat. As you read this, your computer is being spied on, possibly hacked. Not unlike being secretly watched in the nude, you are fully exposed to malware, cookies and intercepts of data. Yes, you have nothing to hide, but do you want your life obsessively monitored by strangers?

We now openly share our lives and secrets to multinational corporations that exploit this information for profits in the billions. We live in a 24-hour surveillance state with corporate and government spies stealing and analyzing our every text, email, search and purchase. We expose our financial information to international criminals who use malware to steal our identities. Yet, we are so transfixed by the magic that we surrender it all, seemingly with little care. And this is leading to the greatest surrender of freedom and privacy in the history of mankind. With the Box now opened, there is no turning back. We will forever be vulnerable to the motives of the dark side of the web, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be vigilant and even change the way it is. The documentaries featured here, all streaming for free, investigate the hacking of our lives by government, criminal and corporate entities. They paint a bleak picture of the future of the web. But they also offer hope, since only with information and knowledge can we take the necessary steps to protect our freedoms and liberties.

Note: Even though these are free streaming versions, we encourage you to make a donation to those documentaries that you watch by visiting their official pages.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties. (c) FilmBuff Participant

The Hacker Wars

Ripped from international headlines, The Hacker Wars takes you to the front lines of the high-stakes battle over the fate of the Internet, freedom and privacy. The Hacker Wars tells the tales of the anarchic troll provocateur Andrew “weev” Aurenheimer, prodigy hacker hero Jeremy Hammond, and incendiary watchdog journalist Barrett Brown – three larger than life characters whose separate quests to expose the secrets of empire hurled them into a fateful collision course with shadowy corporations, the FBI, and ultimate betrayal by one of their own.

Zero Days

The threat of compromised cyber security has become our planet’s new weapon of mass destruction. The documentary Zero Days explores the growing concern that the disintegration of online safety has set the stage for potential physical dangers as well. “Our entire power supply can be cut off,” a foreboding voice informs us near the opening of the film. “Our systems can be taken over. Hospitals deprived of power would cease to function. It’s not if, it’s when.”

Terms and Conditions May Apply

Admit it: you don’t really read the endless terms and conditions connected to every website you visit, phone call you make or app you download. But every day, billion-dollar corporations are learning more about your interests, your friends and family, your finances, and your secrets… and are not only selling the information to the highest bidder, but freely sharing it with the government. And you agreed to all of it. With fascinating examples and so-unbelievable-they’re-almost-funny facts, filmmaker Cullen Hoback exposes what governments and corporations are legally taking from you every day – turning the future of both privacy and civil liberties uncertain. From whistle blowers and investigative journalists to zombie fan clubs and Egyptian dissidents, this disquieting expos√© demonstrates how every one of us has incrementally opted-in to a real-time surveillance state, click by click- and what, if anything, can be done about it.

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