Everyone has a smartphone these days. This device keeps us connected with each other and with the wider world. It stores our data, keeps us entertained, and enables us to get so much more done than we normally would without it. It is a powerful device.
However, there are dangers that come with such a small device having such an enormous influence on our lives. It means that with the click of a button and the right skills, people with ill intentions might find a direct and inconspicuous way into our personal lives. For the average individual, personal privacy comes with concerns about how social media and messaging sites store our data and who they provide access to this data. However, the bigger picture reveals the possibility of being targeted and even more concerning - mass surveillance by the government.
A practical way to look at it is to consider the cost of spyware in this technological sphere. What is the cost of developing it, and who can really afford to fund it? When it is created, who is likely to buy it? And finally, when it is used, what is the cost to its victims? Even the layperson may have seen the news reports about the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and seen the role his own personal device played in his demise. If this incident is any indication, it does not bode well for anyone who may find themselves a target.
It raises the question of how possible it is for organizations or individuals to spy on targets. Is there any way to realize when you are being targeted? What form of preventative or retroactive action can you take to protect your data? Is the government really capable of mass surveillance and even if they could, would they? How likely is it for the average citizen to be targeted and if not the average citizen, then who are the usual targets, and why?
Targets of spyware and hacking speak about their experience and how they were able to uncover who was behind their hackings and talk about why they were targets. It reveals a complex network of persons and institutions including secret technology companies in the Middle East, American spies, government officials and institutions, journalists, and human rights workers. Throughout the documentary, valuable insights are shared about the possible intentions and methods of persons who perpetrate these cybercrimes.