Binge or Cringe: Netflix’s The Great Hack Review

Netflix’s newest documentary, The Great Hack, is terrifying and holds a mirror to the world we live in today. Here’s our review

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Binge or Cringe: Netflix’s The Great Hack Review
Have you ever felt like Facebook was reading your mind? The truth is, it probably is. Just the other day, a friend of mine was telling me about a conversation she had with colleague in person about taking a vacation to Bali. Cut to the next day, her Facebook and Instagram is full of sponsored posts about Bali vacation packages. On reflection, I realized it is something all of us have been privy to at some point or the other, whether or not we paid much attention to it. Welcome to the mysterious world of data mining. 

The film takes up the case of Cambridge Analytica, a data company who allegedly sold millions of voters’ data to target political information to them during the 2016 United States Presidential Election. Becoming one of the biggest scandals in recent time, this event led to a long-due discussion on online privacy and data. 

The film delves deep into this incident and gives us an insight into how online data is used to shape pretty much all our choices. This working of data mining, selling and then consequent use is probably the most relevant thing for us to know as Internet users. The film packs a lot of information into its less than 2 hour runtime without it becoming dry or overwhelming. Each minute is something new to learn. Special mention to the animation in the film, especially in the title sequence which goes a long way in establishing the dysfunctional world we live in. 

It is surreal to think that every single action we make online – every like, comment, share, click, credit card swipe – is being attached to our virtual identities. This information is then sold to companies who know what products we would be more likely to buy or content we would be more likely to consume. It’s all innocent till it’s about buying a new outfit, but suddenly, we find ourselves in a world where elections can be won, governments can be overthrown. Is that still data mining or does it make it data manipulation? 

The Great Hack doesn’t provide all the answers but it certainly makes us aware of the ground reality. Maybe because there are no easy answers. While this might feel like an episode of Black Mirror, it is indeed real life. 

Our verdict: Binge-worthy. 

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