The free internet as a global tool for communication, information and making the world a better place as it plays a key role in the globalization of the human race is a beautiful thing…but on the flip side of all that, the internet is a dark, dark place that to put it mildly can be scary as all fuck. Black Code is an important, fascinating and salient documentary for our times that reminds us the need to stay vigilant as governments and the powers that be, can and are using these advents in technology to control the population in subtle and often nefarious ways.
In our modern world that is more polarizing and subsequently more paranoid then it ever has been before, the face of political activism has changed dramatically and the internet plays a big part in that. In Black Code we traverse the globe; from Brazil to Tibet and even the city of Toronto at an innovative research centre at the University of Toronto where people are developing new ways to fight the new ever evolving forms of oppression with technology. However these issues cut both ways as governments are also harnessing this technology in order to keep their populations in line.
Black Code is a salient but slightly flawed documentary which still makes a solid argument for at the very least more social vigilance as the technology of the world grows faster then we can understand how it can hurt us.
Inspired by and drawing from the book by Prof. Ronald J. Deibert, director Nicolas de Pencier crafts a solid and upsetting yarn as we see the tools of the internet quite often being used against the populations of countries where freedom of press and even of self-expression get monitored at all too high of a rate. It’s a smooth narrative as we jump from country to country and every subject that the film puts in front us tells a relevant story that will send chills down the spines of anyone even the slightest bit aware that the internet isn’t all that ambivalent and can be one scary place if we don’t as a society take even some of the slightest precautions so that this technology that is meant to make our lives easier doesn’t work against us.
While in many other films like this it does focus on countries without freedom of the press and expression while highlighting the need for independent social journalism. It tends to paint more of a blanket picture comparing life in Canada or the US to situations in Brazil, Tibet or Syria it does at least remind us that if we aren’t careful and stay vigilant against some of these nefarious forces and tools on the net, we may not be as dissimilar to the situations in those countries as we might like to think.
Ultimately, Black Code does touch on a fair bit of info that we have already seen and disseminated before, it never hurts to be reminded of what is still out there. It’s interesting but a shade shy of vital viewing.