‘The Great Hack’: Manipulating people with their own data

“The Great Hack” tells the story of British data-driven political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. (Supplied)
Updated 29 July 2019

‘The Great Hack’: Manipulating people with their own data

CHENNAI: One of the greatest concerns of this century is the growing threat to privacy. They may not admit it, but many countries — not just those run by dictatorial regimes — are now making it their business to snoop into individuals’ lives. “The Great Hack,” now streaming on Netflix, brilliantly documents this in feature length.

Made by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim (known for “Control Room” and “The Square,” which fetched an Academy nod), “The Great Hack” tells the story of British data-driven political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which used the Facebook data of millions of users to push Brexit and help Donald Trump win the US presidential election.

The documentary is no less thrilling than a political spy story with unforgettable characters. The company got hold of personal messages, photographs and more to shortlist those who were seen as “persuadable,” and they were bombarded with communication to nudge them toward Trump and Brexit. The movie calls this a psychological war.

“The Great Hack” begins with an American professor, David Carroll, who decides after it was revealed that Facebook data were being misused that he will ask Cambridge Analytica to hand over his personal information.

The take on Brittany Kaiser is even more gripping. An ex-intern who worked for former US President Barack Obama, she landed a job with Cambridge Analytica writing contracts for Trump and helping Brexit deals.

Pink-haired whistleblower Christopher Wylie makes up the trio that shook the world out of its Facebook fallacy. 

Will “The Great Hack” lead to a mass exodus from Facebook? Hardly, one would think, because people are so besotted with sharing their most personal moments on the platform that they ignore how vulnerable they can be.

And mobile phones, which just about everybody uses today, often track their users’ every move.

But it is time to seriously ponder how we are naively bartering away our precious privacy for self-promotion among our friends, real and not so real.


Priyanka Chopra voices Elsa in Hindi-language ‘Frozen 2’

Priyanka Chopra announced Friday that she will voice the character of Elsa in the Hindi-language version of hit Disney animation film ‘Frozen 2.’ (File/AFP)
Updated 19 October 2019

Priyanka Chopra voices Elsa in Hindi-language ‘Frozen 2’

DUBAI: Priyanka Chopra announced Friday that she will voice the character of Elsa in the Hindi-language version of hit Disney animation film “Frozen 2,” set to be released on Nov. 22.

And what’s more, Chopra’s cousin, Parineeti, will voice the character of Anna, who is played by Kristen Bell in the English-language film.

“Mimi & Tisha are now Elsa & Anna!” Priyanka posted on her Twitter account on Friday. “The #ChopraSisters are finally coming together for Disney’s #Frozen2. Can’t wait for you guys to see us…I mean HEAR us bring these amazing, strong characters to life in Hindi.”

Chopra released a statement about the new film and the character she voices.

“Elsa is a fictional character who’s known to be strongly-opinionated and level headed, traits that I deeply connect with," she said. "This not only made me want to be part of the film, but also gives me a wonderful opportunity to present one of the most-successful animated films to our local audiences.”