EXCLUSIVE: What Citizenfour did for the NSA’s domestic espionage program in the U.S. – exposing it for the world to see — the documentary Phantom Parrot may do for a top-secret surveillance program in the U.K.
The film directed by Kate Stonehill, which makes its world premiere at the prestigious CPH:DOX festival in Copenhagen on Sunday, investigates a data collection scheme on a grand scale that seemed to have racial bias built into it. We have your first look at the documentary in the clip above.
“If British police ask for the password to your phone or computer, you must hand it over to them in accordance with an anti-terror law that came into force before 9/11,” CPH:DOX programmers write in a description of the film. “When human rights activist Muhammad Rabbani refuses and is prosecuted, a journalist is able to uncover documents proving the existence of a top-secret surveillance program, codenamed Phantom Parrot, designed to copy the personal data of individuals at airports and border crossings – and people from minority backgrounds are often the first to be pulled aside.”
The CPH:DOX program continues, “And from there, the dominoes start falling in all directions in a dark detective film about technology, surveillance and structural racism in a time where knowledge might still equal power but where data is even better. Kate Stonehill has crafted a razor-sharp analysis that unravels the threads and allows us to understand both the scale and gravity of the Phantom Parrot program. And with Muhammad Rabbani as the protagonist, you’ll be inspired to speak out before it’s too late.”
Phantom Parrot premieres in the festival’s F:act Award section. Additional screenings will be held on March 22 and March 23. Rabbani, the protagonist, is expected to be on hand for Sunday’s premiere.
The documentary is produced by Steven Lake. The executive producers are Alex Lieberman, Gary Lieberman, and Sandra Whipham. Cinematographers are Matthew Bockelman, J.P. Lewis, Ronnie McQuillan, and Kate Stonehill. The editing is by Emiliano Battista and Vera Simmonds, with music by Nainita Desai.
In the exclusive clip above, a former law enforcement officer conducts a Magnet Forensic Data Extraction training, explaining how data collection capabilities go way beyond what the ordinary person would imagine possible.
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