About the Documentary

What is this project about?

Mass surveillance violates human rights. It poses a threat to privacy, dignity, the freedom of expression, the right to religious and political freedom, and the right not to be discriminated against. My barrier-free documentary Information. What are they looking at? takes an inclusive approach to communicate this knowledge. It is designed for people with no prior knowledge about mass surveillance; or who are excluded from access to it. Surveillance affects everybody, but in the public eye is mainly discussed by ‘white’ men. To help shifting this bias, we consulted the expertise of women* and People of Color.


Our target audience are people with little or no prior knowledge on the topic of mass surveillance. The documentary will be easily accessible to as many people as possible aiming to those outside of digital enthusiasts, outside the mainstream media and highly privileged classes.

Among those are often People of Color, Black people, refugees, and Muslims and other religious groups who are currently under scrutiny. Especially when they live in situations or global regions where online access is restricted. We will also focus on groups that are excluded due to disability and/or language barriers as most of the debates surrounding mass surveillance are only available in a very limited set of languages and without barrier free translations. For this purpose we will create an Open Source video playback application which can be used by filmmakers to share their works inclusively.

A map of the world with eyes all over it. Representing the target audience.


Considering an audience without prior knowledge we aim to create an audio-visual language which will reach the broadest possible audience. The interviews will be shown with as little cuts between them as possible. This on the one hand helps the audience to fully concentrate on the issues and still be able to see how the interviewees talk, which emotion and intention they are transporting beyond speech. But it also makes it easier to follow subtitles, closed captions and translations into sign-language without missing parts of the film due to fast-paced cuts. Furthermore it makes the film easy to watch for persons with an impaired eyesight or who are neuro-atypical.

Additionally, the documentary abdicates from the aesthetic clichés of ‘Hacker-movies’: dark colours, lens flares, and so on. Because another film with a ‘Hacker-leitmotif’ would imply and suggest that only an exclusive group has access to this knowledge. Instead it is shot mostly outside and in bright light.

A similar approach will be used for the animations but adapted to the very popular and easily created ‘flat design’. To this we will add 3D visuals for the points in focus. Those animations will be colorful and particularly easy to understand. Visually, they stay close to the style much used in Web-, App- and Interface-design.

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© 2018 Theresia Reinhold

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