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Under Surveillance : A question of Privacy


By Matthew Arnoldi - Posted on 29 April 2010

"Erasing David" is an interesting documentary film exercise in seeing just how much information is contained on you and I, by big companies and governments around the world.

The documentary is being screened on its opening night, Thursday 29 April 2010 at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, London and this will be followed by a live debate after the screening, featuring the director David Bond, award-winning movie composer Michael Nyman, columnist Will Self, David Davis MP and Head of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti. The event is going to be beamed live from the Ritzy to many participating cinemas around the country.

Writer/director David Bond with the assistance of co-director and Producer Melinda McDougall, thought it would an interesting exercise to leave behind his pregnant wife and young child (and yes he does this with their agreement to the idea), and then go undercover in Europe. The twist is he then hires two private detectives who are given the precise task of trying to track him down.

Will the detectives go down the route of using the kind of technology that enables them to check computer records in a bid to locate David's whereabouts or will they resort to more old-fashioned methods ?

The film raises interesting questions about the freedom of information and database protection. Many of us may wonder just what is stored about any of us in government records. Are all of our emails kept somewhere ? If we are vetted by security services, what information are they looking at and do we have a right to see it ?

"Erasing David" isn't quite the pulsating pursuit of paranoia that was contained for example, in a film like "Enemy of the State" (1998) starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman, but it is an intriguing journey and an objective exercise in seeing just what levels of surveillance we now live under from day to day and what amounts of privacy we might feel we are entitled to. CCTV of course in many cases is viewing and recording us but then often is also offering protection and may be seen as a useful deterrent to rising levels of crime, but what of Google Earth, that may be taking pictures of our homes and streets and the action going on, in them, without our consent ?

"Erasing David" will be screened on Thursday 29 April 2010 for its opening night, followed by the live debate. It will also be shown on C4 (specifically on More4) on Tuesday 4 May 2010 at 10 pm, and released on DVD later in the year.

Matt Arnoldi

FACTUAL INFORMATION

This event will be beamed live from the Brixton Ritzy to all participating cinemas across the country.

Erasing David will be showing in: Aberdeen – The Belmont Picturehouse, Bath – Little Theatre Cinema, Brighton – Duke Of Yorks, Cambridge – Cambridge Picturehouse, Edinburgh – Cameo Picturehouse, Exeter – Picturehouse, Henley-On-Thames – Regal Picturehouse, Islington - Screen on The Green, Lancaster – The Dukes Cinema, Liverpool – FACT, London – Brixton Ritzy Picturehouse, London – The Lexi Cinema Kensal Rise, London - Greenwich Picturehouse, London – Stratford Picturehouse, London – Notting Hill Gate, Newcastle – Tyneside Cinema, Norwich – Cinema City, Oxford – Phoenix Pitcturehouse, Prestatyn – The Scala, Southampton – Harbour Lights Picturehouse, Stamford – Arts Centre, Straford-upon-Avon – Stratford Picturehouse, Winchester - The Screen, York – Picturehouse

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