On the heels of my recommendation on Morozov’s Net Delusion recommendation, I have watched two documentaries that look at our relationship with the internet. I watched Ali Akbarzadeh’s “Killswitch” and Werner Herzog’s “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World”.
I have now watched “Killswitch” twice and took in Herzog’s film by breaking up my viewing into two segments.
Killswitch which looks at many aspects of the corralling of the internet, net neutrality and provider monopolies. The movie spotlights Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden through interviews with Peter Ludlow, Tim Wu and Lawrence Lessig. As a researcher I am concerned that internet providers do curtail access to information. In a scene Aaron Swartz is seen illegally connecting a removable hard drive to MIT’s computer’s to download the millions of articles found on Jstor. Just recently JStor (Which I use legally) has announced an affordable monthly price subscription to their service.
If you care about your ability to roam the internet this is a film to watch. There is so much in this film that timely, especially at this new phase in our country. We are shown the terrifying extent that our leaders went to push forward SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act) and the citizen push back to kill this bill. We get a glimpse to life of Aaron Swartz as well a wanted and fleeing Edward Snowden’s. This is a serious look at the on going battle over what we take for granted.
The second film is Werner Herzog’s “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World”. I am one of those people who can listen to Werner talk all day. People have mentioned this about the late great actor Richard Burton, “I can listen to him read the phone book.” Which he had done on the Today Show. I, too wish this of Mr. Herzog. In this film, he narrates chapters in the film. The start of the film shows the first military grade node of the internet. The film covers many aspects of our connected life. My favorite scene is the monks on smartphones. My issue with the film is he does not cover those people who are shut out of being connected. The poor and the disenfranchised, this group have to find ways to connect. Libraries are now one of the leading hubs for connectivity. I have posted my concern to Mr. Herzog’s Twitter account and have not heard back.
These are the types of films for me, makes me ponder my relationship with the internet and the connections it forms. Viewing them back to back you take in the magnitude that the internet shapes our current existence and the closing in on which corporation will try to own it. Both are very good films and recommend you viewing them. When finished, go outside and meet people face to face.
Both films are streaming on Netflix. Killswitch is streaming on Amazon Prime. You can purchase “Lo and Behold on Amazon.