As if people needed another reason to be paranoid. Anyone remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal that occurred a while back? The data mining that was discovered was something that unnerved a lot of people, and as Issie Lapowsky of Wired would say, privacy is largely a thing of the past. The Great Hack is a look back at the incident and how it happened, and the fallout that came as a result. If you think that people were scared of the internet before and how it handled their personal data, this scandal only rocked them even further since the idea that those wielding our information are able to sway us in various ways so as to affect one facet of life after another. The idea that this allowed Donald Trump to become president is of course a humongous point that is bound to be touched upon in the documentary, but it’s also likely that the constant streams of information that are fed into the all-knowing, all-seeing system that seems to hover over all of us will be viewed in detail as well.
Brandon Yu of Datebook delves even deeper into the matter since it was made quite obvious that the data collection is used for more than just the election process as well. Marketing gimmicks, personality profiles, and any and every bit of data that can be gleaned from our internet searches and purchases can be utilized to manipulate us in one way or another. Those in charge of this data are well aware of our habits, what we look at, and can use that to any advantage they need or want to, and that’s kind of disturbing. The only problem with realizing this is that it seems to be that the only way to exist without giving anything away in this world is to live completely off the grid, which is almost impossible for any living being that clings to civilization. From the moment we step out into society to the moment we return to our home and turn off our machines, this system knows very well what we’re doing and what we’re looking at thanks to the level of connectivity that we have in this day and age.
Some people might want to shake their head and think that no matter how loose we are with our information, the chances that they’ll be affected or targeted in some way are small so long as they maintain a low profile. That might be all well and good for some folks, but it’s obviously not a blanket of safety as some folks might want to believe. The documentary isn’t meant to scare people but instead is being released to inform them, and will be released on July 24th on Netflix. The truth however is that it might very well be a bit unnerving to realize just how much of an influence those that we give our information over to have over our lives. We don’t generally think that much about the things we do, or the stuff we buy, since it’s a matter of our everyday life and doesn’t seem it’s worth the thought that it would take to really understand what this data can be used for.
Saying that it’s being weaponized, as David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun, might grate on some people since quite honestly it makes it sound as though we’re being actively assaulted on a constant basis. The truth however is even scarier since unless you can understand just how far down the rabbit hole we’ve already gone, it might be better to remain ignorant and hope that you can forget about this matter while going about your life as you usually do. From ads to games to purchases to simple identity apps that you might think are just a bunch of fun and something to distract you when you should be working, studying, or doing something productive, those that run these programs and create them are harvesting the kind of information that some people might seem trivial, but in essence is allowing them to get to know you on an even deeper and more intimate level. It sounds creepy, scary, and altogether wrong, but it’s been going on for a while and there are many of us that don’t even want to think about it, let alone realize that we’ve been stuck in the web for longer than many could possibly realize.
It’s not a matter of fear-mongering no matter how many might actually try to state the opposite, but The Great Hack is still a wake-up call, among the many that have already come along in the past, that is an attempt to inform people and make them more self-aware when it comes to giving out their information. As of now, in the world the way as it is, our information is no longer private, no matter what kind of security we purchase.