You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Terms and Conditions May Apply

A briskly cautionary and slickly packaged doc that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms.

With:
With: Danah Boyd, Doug Rushkoff, Margaret Atwood, Mark Zuckerberg, Moby, Orson Scott Card, Ray Kurzweil, Sherry Turkle.

Documaker Cullen Hoback efficiently amps audience paranoia about the purposeful erosion of privacy in the digital age in “Terms and Conditions Apply,” a briskly cautionary and slickly packaged docu that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms. Deftly balancing twin goals of informing and entertaining, the pic matter-of-factly details the various ways that marketers, multinational corporations, police departments and government-run intelligence-gathering organizations obtain and exploit info that people freely (and, more often than not, heedlessly) share and showcase via cell phones, websites and social media.

Darkly comical segments illustrate how, in the post-9/11 world of heightened security and ever-more-intrusive surveillance, a standup comic who quotes “Fight Club” on Facebook while venting mock-murderous wrath against an Apple store might wind up visited by a SWAT team, and how an Irish tourist who tweets a cheeky vow to “destroy America” (by nonstop drinking during an L.A. holiday) could be viewed as a possible terrorist and detained after his U.S. arrival.

But Hoback’s doc is even more unsettling as it reports, in a tone at once calmly understated and arrestingly insistent, how government agencies are methodically expanding their ability to monitor virtually all digital communication (including tweets, texts, emails and phone calls), thanks in part to legislation like the Patriot Act in the United States — and with full cooperation from outfits like Google, AT&T and AOL.

As a result, the pic reports, street-theater protesters can be rounded up by London police long before they even begin demonstrations near a royal wedding — not unlike the way would-be murderers were apprehended in “Minority Report,” one of several dramatic features shrewdly excerpted throughout the docu.

“Terms and Conditions” offers scant reason to hope for an end, or even controls, on threats to privacy, and assigns blame to everyone from President Obama, chided here by interviewees for his alleged campaign against whistleblowers, to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who appears remarkably poised during an all-too-short ambush interview.

The only real defense, Hoback suggests, is increased caution on the part of heretofore naive individuals who have been sharing too much of themselves too often online.

As MIT social studies professor Sherry Turkle notes, there can be such a thing as too much honesty: “In most relationships in your life, it’s very good that the other person doesn’t know everything you’ve ever said or scribbled or thought.”

And it’s better, and much safer, when people you don’t know know even less.

Terms and Conditions May Apply

Production: A 7A Prods. and Hyrax Films presentation of a Digital Immigrants production. Produced by Cullen Hoback, John Ramos, Nitin Khanna. Executive producers, Jaswinder Grover, Karan Khanna, Nitin Khanna, Jay Walia. Directed, written, edited by Cullen Hoback.

Crew: Camera (color), Ben Wolf; music, John Morgan Askew; sound, Jason Edwards; animators, Chris Allison, Patrick Desilets, Ryan Kramer. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Jan. 21, 2013. (At Slamdance Film Festival -- Beyond.) Running time: 79 MIN.

Cast: With: Danah Boyd, Doug Rushkoff, Margaret Atwood, Mark Zuckerberg, Moby, Orson Scott Card, Ray Kurzweil, Sherry Turkle.

More Scene

  • Esquire 'Mavericks of Hollywood' party

    Terry Crews on His Sexual Assault Lawsuit: 'If I Don’t Get Justice, Nobody Can'

    Documaker Cullen Hoback efficiently amps audience paranoia about the purposeful erosion of privacy in the digital age in “Terms and Conditions Apply,” a briskly cautionary and slickly packaged docu that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms. Deftly balancing twin goals of informing and entertaining, the pic matter-of-factly details […]

  • 20th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards

    'I, Tonya,' 'The Shape of Water' Win at 2018 Costume Designers Guild Awards

    Documaker Cullen Hoback efficiently amps audience paranoia about the purposeful erosion of privacy in the digital age in “Terms and Conditions Apply,” a briskly cautionary and slickly packaged docu that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms. Deftly balancing twin goals of informing and entertaining, the pic matter-of-factly details […]

  • Vera Wang

    Vera Wang, Olivia Munn Celebrate American Designers at Variety, WWD and CFDA's Runway to Red Carpet Event

    Documaker Cullen Hoback efficiently amps audience paranoia about the purposeful erosion of privacy in the digital age in “Terms and Conditions Apply,” a briskly cautionary and slickly packaged docu that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms. Deftly balancing twin goals of informing and entertaining, the pic matter-of-factly details […]

  • 'Atlanta' TV show premiere

    'Atlanta Robbin' Season' Will 'Show What Makes the City Tick,' Producer Says

    Documaker Cullen Hoback efficiently amps audience paranoia about the purposeful erosion of privacy in the digital age in “Terms and Conditions Apply,” a briskly cautionary and slickly packaged docu that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms. Deftly balancing twin goals of informing and entertaining, the pic matter-of-factly details […]

  • Mr Chow 50th Anniversary celebration

    Mr. Chow 50th Anniversary Party Draws Stevie Wonder, Heidi Klum & More Stars

    Documaker Cullen Hoback efficiently amps audience paranoia about the purposeful erosion of privacy in the digital age in “Terms and Conditions Apply,” a briskly cautionary and slickly packaged docu that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms. Deftly balancing twin goals of informing and entertaining, the pic matter-of-factly details […]

  • Paley Center for Media presents They

    African-American Showrunners Talk Strides in TV Representation

    Documaker Cullen Hoback efficiently amps audience paranoia about the purposeful erosion of privacy in the digital age in “Terms and Conditions Apply,” a briskly cautionary and slickly packaged docu that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms. Deftly balancing twin goals of informing and entertaining, the pic matter-of-factly details […]

  • 'Annihilation' film premiere

    'Annihilation' Star Jennifer Jason Leigh Responds to Whitewashing Accusations

    Documaker Cullen Hoback efficiently amps audience paranoia about the purposeful erosion of privacy in the digital age in “Terms and Conditions Apply,” a briskly cautionary and slickly packaged docu that could score some bookings in brick-and-mortar venues before wide dispersal on smallscreen platforms. Deftly balancing twin goals of informing and entertaining, the pic matter-of-factly details […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content