Films on NSA, National Security Agency

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a U.S. intelligence agency responsible for providing the United States government with communications information. The NSA is much larger than the CIA or FBI, although much lesser known. In 2013, the extent of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. It has also created or maintained security vulnerabilities in most software and encryption, leaving the majority of the Internet susceptible to cyber attacks from the NSA and other parties. Domestically, it contributes to mass surveillance in the United States by collecting and storing all phone records of all American citizens. NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders or economic espionage.

While the National Security Agency (NSA) is concerned with US security, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is concerned with gathering intelligence information, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is concerned with law enforcement. All three are agencies of the American government. Each agency has a specific area of focus, although they do occasionally cooperate on cases to share information which could lead to a breakthrough.


Terms And Conditions May Apply

Documentary 2013 NR 1hr 20m. Through interviews with technology thought leaders and futurists, this timely documentary examines the erosion of privacy in the digital age. It provides lots of information about what we give up when check that little AGREE button at the end of the Terms & Conditions of any service. I and millions of people have honestly never read any Terms & Conditions. Thing is, you can’t do much on the Net unless you hit the “Agree” button, and most webpages won’t let you on unless you agree and permit ‘cookies’. We get a lot of valuable free services from Google, Facebook etc., and in turn we unknowingly allow a lot of our personal data to be used for their purposes. In Europe customers can find out how much information a company has collected on them, and one Austrian found Facebook had 1200 pages of info on him, a pile of papers five inches high (and he only posted once a week).  See Full Review

Big Brother, Big Business

Documentary CNBC Originals 2006 TV-PG 89 minutes. Award-winning correspondent David Faber examines big business and rapid advance of technology that allows companies to monitor our every move and record our most private personal information.

You Are in the Computer

Documentary Frontline 1985. Investigates computerized information systems and the issues of privacy they raise. You go to rent an apartment and are turned down without any obvious reason. Then you find out your name is in a computer file of undesirable tenants and every other landlord in the city has access to the information.

The Spy Factory

Documentary Nova 2009 NR 53 minutes. This eye-opening “Nova” special sheds light on the clandestine practices of the U.S. government’s top secret National Security Agency, the world’s largest intelligence outfit, which is responsible for spying within and beyond America’s borders. Based on James Bamford’s best-selling book The Shadow Factory, the program also examines how the threat of terrorism is affecting the agency’s day-to-day operations. The title is a bit misleading. This is a documentary about the failure of intelligence agencies to share information leading up to 9/11. Interesting view on what the NSA intercepted before 9/11 on the hijackers and how that information wasn’t used. Also noted is how the 9/11 Commission focused on other agencies, such as CIA and FBI, while glossing over NSA weaknesses.


Documentary 2008 NR 81 minutes. With homeland security and the war on terror becoming increasingly important issues, the U.S. government has grown more and more secretive, allegedly to protect the country and save lives. But is this culture of secrets at odds with democracy? This documentary examines both the pros and cons of government concealment by focusing on classified secrets and the arguments the government makes in the name of national security. See Full Review

The Facebook Obsession

Documentary CNBC Originals 2011 TV-PG 43 minutes. Get the real story behind the rise of the largest social media site in the world, as told by the company’s founders, friends and foes. CNBC examines how this Internet phenomenon is affecting society in ways most people can hardly comprehend.

Inside the Mind of Google

Documentary CNBC Originals 2009 TV-PG 43m. See how Google came to dominate the online search industry. Its strategies for growth and how it’s addressing the hot issue of online privacy. Get a rare look at the company that hundreds of millions of people touch every day.See Full Review


Drama 1984 R 110 minutes. This movie adaptation of George Orwell’s eerie, dystopian tale — filmed during the year for which it’s named — follows the “reeducation” of two people who break the law in a totalitarian state by falling in love while Big Brother is watching.

Minority Report

Sci-fi 2002 PG-13 146 minutes. John Anderton is a top “Precrime” cop in the late 21st century, when technology can predict crimes before they’re committed. But Anderton becomes the quarry when another investigator targets him for a murder charge. Can Anderton prove his innocence?

The Conversation

Thriller 1974 PG 1hr 53m. An audio surveillance expert faces a moral quandary when he suspects that a couple whose conversation he’s been hired to record will be murdered. Coppola uses the continuing themes of privacy and its invasion to create a psychological thriller.


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