Currently, we see many of us being aware of the constant scrutiny that we are under the eyes of the artificial intelligence in our phone and our every movement through the devices are being studied and saved. This helps the intelligence to create an algorithm and provide us with information and details of products or materials that we may have searched for at any point in time by any particular device or account. This has become an increasing apprehension in some of us to lose our private data to the unknown third-party. However, ‘Harvest’, a nationally acclaimed short-film had portrayed this situation in a dark light way before in 2017.
The film ‘Harvest’ employed the research of the Northeastern University’s assistant professor, David Choffnes, that dealt with the data tracking system development. Choffnes and his colleagues came up with the software named ‘ReCon’ in 2015 which illustrated how much our phones really have our personal data without our permission. His research included measurement of the internet-wide system and developing solutions that are reliable, secured and ensures privacy. Recon system offers three functions: it detects the divulgence of “personally identifiable information”, or PII; then it alerts the user of this violation and the system enables the user to control the leakage of information.
Kevin Byrnes, the director of the film teamed up with Choffnes to aware of the phone or any device users through the medium of art and cinema which definitely attracts more viewers to have a larger impact. Byrnes agreed with Choffnes on viewing the data collected from the ReCon system were necessary to make the documentary. The director mentioned, “The film was designed to resonate at an emotional level, but without the data provided by ReCon, it would have lacked a necessary jolt of reality to truly connect with viewers.”
‘Harvest’ had collected the accolades of many prestigious film festivals across the nation, such as the Aspen Shortsfest, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music CinemaFest and in the Rooftop Films Summer Series.