Smartphones have changed our world dramatically and given us concealable recording devices that we carry on the go.
Modern digital technology has also made its way to television, crossing over into sci-fi and thriller zone, and has carved for itself a new “techno-thriller” genre.
Whether it’s remote spyware for Android or iOS devices or just good old GPS tracking, cell phone monitoring continues to be an integral feature of thrillers today.
Here are three Netflix shows made all the more exciting by cell phone spy.
Netflix anthology series, Black Mirror, its name a direct reference to the black reflective surfaces of resting smartphones screens, is a science fiction drama thriller depicting the colossal influence that digital technology, particularly phones, have on our lives. Set in a not so distant and slightly dystopian future, the series features a unique and independent story, as well as cast in every episode of its season and can also be enjoyed individually by those not wanting to commit to an entire show.
Black Mirror spans across cultures and countries as it highlights how the virtual and smartphone era have influenced politics, personal and social relationships, and entertainment, and have changed the face of society a whole. Social media, tracking, spying, surveillance, online dating and virtual reality are just some of the themes that Black Mirror covers with a hint of satire and dark humour.
The Entire History of you, a season 1 episode plays directly upon the dangers of the data collection capability our phones have. In the near future, everyone has readily accessible memory implants that act as identification and record everything from personal interactions, speech and financial transactions. These implants can be connected to screens and turn things awry for the central character when he begins to lose faith in his spouse.
Nosedive, from season 3, is a bizarre and hilariously blunt portrayal of the negative influence of social media, as it shows its protagonist’s life spirals out of control as she tries desperately to make it and maintain popularity in a world defined by social media “ratings”.
Arkangel, season 4 story, is a bleak representation of an overprotective single mother who signs her child up for a program involving tracking implants that locate and record her child’s interactions and vitals.
These are just 3 episodes from the 5 season Emmy award winning British series which isn’t afraid of brutal honesty as it takes on technology as a formidable tool that may have given humanity a bite a larger than it could chew.
Starring Oscar Winner Rami Malek, and critically acclaimed as one of the finest storylines that have depicted hacking in an accurate manner, Mr.Robot is a groundbreaker in its genre. Described as a “paradigm shattering experience”, it takes audiences on a mesmerizing ride into the world of Elliott Anderson, cyber security expert by day and vigilante hacker by night. Elliott is a brilliant but troubled man who grapples with his own identity and opiate abuse, while he takes on criminals that have evaded capture through cyber security loopholes and hopes to use his talents for the betterment of society.
Elliott also struggles with crippling social anxiety stemming from an abusive childhood, but still desires understanding of and connection to people whom he finds interesting or is emotionally attached to. He uses his hacking skill to navigate human interaction, spying on everyone by gaining access to their personal computers and phones, getting to know them in depth. The show is also unique in its breaking of the “4th wall” a cinematic technique separating the audience from the actors, as Elliott frequently addresses us directly as “friend”.
Mr. Robot features detailed looks into the workings of the underworld of elite hacking societies and their dynamics with global governments. Elliott’s own hacking venture that the show kicks off with, is a group called “F Society , an allusion to real world vigilante hacking group “Anonymous”(famous for its V for Vendetta masked videos) that hacked a private security firm to reveal secrets about illegal spying.
As Elliott evades the FBI, along with his F community team and mentor, “Mr. Robot” pull different hacks, we are pulled into a world of secrets, espionage, proxy wars and even the Chinese American cold war.
Mr. Robot features stunning visuals of advanced technology , from an abandoned gaming arcade in an amusement park that serves as our gang’s HQ and gigantic tech corporation rooms dedicated to hosting towering servers, and heart stopping action.
The “Pwn Phone”, shown being used repeatedly throughout the show is an actual Android phone based on the Kali Linux OS and the Android Open Pwn Project, and is also known in the real world as the dream device for hackers. Talk about lifelike!
An eye-opening political and social commentary on who really runs the world, through the eyes of a well-meaning but flawed human, Mr. Robot is a must watch for anyone with a taste for emotional and intelligent story telling. One of the most powerful pieces of modern cinema, after 4 captivating seasons, saying goodbye never felt so difficult.
British show Orphan Black revolves around the story of Sarah, a street smart woman with a troubled past. After witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks identical to her, Sarah steals her identity in an attempt to better her own life and to reunite with her estranged daughter. As she struggles to gain answers, Sarah is thrown into a world of conspiracy genetic engineering.
Orphan Black shows off mind-melting twists and terrific writing as it fearlessly dives into the intricacies of science, biological engineering and eugenics. The series also takes us through the moral and ethical complications of human cloning and also its effects on identity.
Clones, often with disguises, frequently use smartphones for spying, to collect information on other clones and spies, or those they don’t trust. With an incredible thriller formula, slick writing, and attention to modern technology, Orphan Black makes an entertaining and promising watch.
The Emmy award winning series has also gathered a loyal online following across social media platforms, known as #CloneClub.
Watch these three shows and we bet you won’t stop thinking if your device might be bugged with remote spyware for Android or iPhone.