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How Hacktivists Are Pushing Dialog About Data Privacy

How Hacktivists Are Pushing Dialog About Data Privacy

We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Asian Scientist Magazine & Wildtype Media for the making of a new documentary short film, The Hacktivist, which aims to shed light on long-standing tensions between corporations, governments, individual users and hackers, as well as transparency issues in the hardware world.  

“We want to explore the topic of data privacy and the role of big tech in our daily lives,” says Dr. Juliana Chan, CEO and Founder of Wildtype Media Group. “For this effort, we are examining the complex role of hackers in the tech industry, and we are learning that they can be a force for good as hacker-activists.” Shot in Singapore, Boston, and San Francisco, the Singapore-US production will draw insights from tech experts and intellectual property lawyers from around the world. In particular, “white hat” (ethical) hackers and hacktivists will be called upon to weigh in on their multifaceted function in the industry.

The Hacktivist follows hacker Andrew ‘bunnie’ Huang, who first drew international attention in 2001 when he clashed with Microsoft for teaching others how to modify the Xbox. Now, the Singapore-based hacker is fighting a lawsuit against the US government to restore users’ rights to own and use their technology. He’s out to change the DMCA – and challenge our existing thoughts around IP law – with the creation of the Precursor phone. The aim for this project is to create “a smartphone-like device that’s as open as possible.” Given Huang’s hactivism, it’s no surprise that the processing core of this device applies the free and open source RISC-V architecture that runs on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Which in theory, will provide more physical security than traditional systems and, if a device is under attack, at least the owner would be aware. The goal of this project and the underlying theme of this documentary? It’s time users rethink their relationship with technology and who controls the technology that they use. 

As we further develop our online identities and blur the line between the digital and the physical world, we must also examine how we intend to leverage and interact with these technologies to allow for a positive experience – for both the user and the creator market needed to sustain it. 

At Singularity, “we help leaders better understand the implications of exponential technology on their companies and communities, so it’s only right that we encourage meaningful conversations on important topics, even when it may be controversial. Through this collaboration, we want to spark dialogue about trust in an increasingly technology-driven world” said Steve Leonard, CEO of Singularity Group.

To create a better future, the world will require better leaders and while we believe in the power of exponential technologies to create that future – we also acknowledge that you have to think about the implications.  Hacktivists like Huang are a key asset to this future. They are leaders who are not afraid to challenge our existing systems and find creative ways to make room for the future within (or outside) our current process.  

With the global conversation around data privacy and our rights online growing every day, there is a unique opportunity to shed light on the role hackers play in this new society. We hope you’ll check out this exciting project that’s set to be released in early 2022 and stay tuned on updates about this partnership. 

Venus Ranieri

Venus is Director of Marketing at Singularity.

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