Documentaries alter your viewpoint. You can still say, “That could never happen!” when you see something surprising in a movie. In a documentary, though, it is really happening, and you mostly do believe what you see. The beauty of a documentary is that it has less fluff than a movie due to its format. It is a slightly better representation of reality and less dramatized. We’re not claiming that documentaries don’t have biases but even biased documentaries have actual human and human interaction in them. So, what are these 5 documentaries a tech enthusiast must watch?

1. Citizenfour (2014) 

Citizenfour is an oscar-winning documentary concerning Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance fiasco. The film is about Edward Snowden, who leaked secret documents proving that the National Security Agency (NSA) is spying on both international and domestic targets. The government has a watch list of 1.2 million individuals, and the President has authority over the NSA’s spying. According to the film, the NSA is violating the privacy laws placed in place to protect American citizens, and packaging their data collection under national security efforts to combat terrorism in the post-9/11 world.

2. The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz ( 2014 )

Aaron Swartz (co-founder of Reddit) was a genius. Nobody can deny that. He was a visionary, talented young individual who became the victim of the status quo. The story of Aaron Swartz could enrage you. Get mad about what happened to Aaron and demand change. The film’s several interviewees create a painfully fitting tone of “why would this actually occur?” Few people who see this movie would disagree with it.

3. TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard (2013)

TPB AFK is a documentary about three tech enthusiasts who created the file-sharing platform The Pirate Bay, which revolutionized the world of digital distribution. How did a hacker named Gottfrid Svartholm-Warg, an Internet activist named Peter Sunde, and a beer connoisseur named Fredrik Neij get the White House to threaten Sweden with trade sanctions? The inside story of how a group of “hacktivists” created the Internet’s largest file-sharing site is told in TPB AFK.

4. The Code: Story of Linux (2001)

In 1991, a 20-year-old Finnish computer science student asks for guidance on how to create a better operating system on an Internet newsgroup. He and his loose confederacy of hackers from around the world build Linux, an operating system that is now poised to overtake the next generation of handheld and desktop computers, ten years later. Linux is unique in that no one owns it, which is extremely concerning for conventional tech firms. Any consumer is free to modify it as they see fit as long as they share it with others under the same conditions.

5. Terms and Conditions May Apply

Before there was the popular Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, way back in 2013 Terms and Conditions May Apply already warned us about how our privacy is at risk. The film depicts what governments and companies are allowed to take from Internet users under the law. It demonstrates how, click by click, we have all opted-in to a state of real-time surveillance. Every day, multibillion-dollar companies learn more about your hobbies, friends and relatives, investments, and personal information. And you agreed to all of it. You’re not only selling your own data to the highest bidder; you’re also sharing it with the government.

Note: These Must Watch Tech Documentaries is based on the author’s opinion and personal metric.


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