…it’s not just activists who are benefiting from new technologies. Director Brian Knappenberger spends nearly half the series carefully explaining the myriad ways governments and corporations use digital tools to surveil social movements. From examining the cell-phone tracking technologies used by law enforcement to uncovering how repressive regimes work with American tech companies to thwart social movements, the series offers up a smart meditation on the threat of digital surveillance on political dissent.
While data from the government is subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, corporations are not required to offer the same transparency. And without the ability to document systemic abuse, it’s incredibly difficult to make a case for reform. I
“It’s thE struggle for information that’s at the heart of so many of these stories,” Knappenberger says.
The final episode of Truth and Power, which examines the use of surveillance drones, airs tonight on Pivot.
There is a lot of drama here and scenes of Phantoms are freely intercut with Predators. But the message in interview after interview is clear. People are freaked out about drones invading their privacy, about drones being used for surveillance, about drones in the hands “of the wrong people.” The message to legislators around the country is increasingly clear – this is an issue.
Campaigns like Drones For Good are great, but they lack the emotional impact to counter, much less dismiss this kind of storytelling – and sadly the kind of abuse documented in this series.