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Popcorn Preview: Terms and Conditions May Apply

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Film: Terms and Conditions May Apply (2013)
Cast includes: Orson Scott Card, Raymond Kurzweil, Joe Lipari, Mark Zuckerberg
Director: Cullen Hoback (Friction)
Genre: Documentary (80 minutes)

I Agree. I Agree. I Agree. Submit. We live in a digital world. Everything we do starts with a very long document...Terms and Conditions. Can anyone "tell how many people actually read the terms and conditions?" It's estimated that reading all the terms and conditions we're required to sign would require 180 hours per year. So do they really apply? "They do." "We may use your personal data." Agree. Instagram, for example, is free to sell your posted photos without paying you. What about selling personal data? "There are these things called cookies..." Even your Google searches provide valuable points of data that can be sold... not that you'll ever see a cent.

In early 2001, there were a dozen bills introduced in Congress to protect privacy... then came 9/11 and the new reality. "The Patriot Act allows invasion of privacy in many little ways." Google changed their privacy rules, as did others. They say we're totally anonymous. Yep... "anonymous until you're not." The thing is, Google is a free service... except the information we provide has a value of $500 a year when they sell it. We all want free stuff, so we put up with the targeted ads. Facebook has data on 900 million people. "We can change the terms at any time." Agree. "So what's a bigger sin... having this crazy one-night stand or not knowing how to use Facebook correctly?" And what about Facebook selling our data? They're not a public utility, after all. A little company called Axion has an average of 1,500 points of data on every one of us. Lest we think all this data is just for commerce, consider the boon it's been for government surveillance... "Facebook has replaced most FBI surveillance." Facebook can legally collect and discriminate data that would be illegal, if it were the government doing the same thing. And it's not just Facebook... virtually every scrap of digital activity is fair game.

"Anything that's been digitized is not private." So what happens if you have a change of heart and realize you need to delete stuff? "Delete means not actually gone." There are actually programs that can follow your every keystroke! This film explores the realities and consequences of our digital lives. The laws that protect our privacy were written in 1986. After 9/11, most new legislation has been one way... to take away our privacy. This film is a mind-numbing exposé on the many ways our personal data can be used, misused and abused. It's a well-told, fast-paced narrative, with fun music and clever visuals. It's a lot of information because it spans both corporate and government use of our personal data. The film was made after Julian Assange and WikiLeaks but before Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks. It's clear that the filmmaker has a strong point of view, so your personal opinion may influence your feelings about the topic and the film. Some say the horse is already out of the barn. If you have a computer, a credit card or a cell phone, there's nowhere to hide. "These terms are subject to change without notice." Agree. Decline.

3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
How corporations and governments use the information we freely give digitally everyday
Popcorn Profile
Audience: Young adults
Distribution: Art house
Mood: Sober
Tempo: Zips right along
Visual Style: Unvarnished realism
Primary Driver: Convey information
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Informative & Thought provoking

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