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IFFBoston 2010 Review: Erasing David

‘Erasing David’ is a compelling and quite frightening documentary that brings to light the reality that even if you wanted to, it would be impossible to erase your digital foot print.

The director and the main focus of ‘Erasing David,’ David Bond, set out to find out just how much information about him is out in the wild, and attempts to disappear. Leaving his pregnant wife, and young child behind, and see just how long it would take private investigators to catch up with him.

The film is so well put together, the story of David on the run and the private investigators is used as a means to push the story forward. Much like ‘Super Size Me,’ the main concept of the film is the draw, but the true gold is the information Bond discovers about meaning and loss of privacy.

Bond informs us that the film was inspired by a letter he received regarding his daughter Ivy, and the loss of her information by the UK Governments Child Benefit Office. He then sets out on a quest, searching online, and inquiring with companies to see just how much information they had on him at any given moment. In one exceptional scene, Bond sends out requests to receive copies of all the information various outlets had on him. In one package from amazon.co.uk, a packet of considerable size contained information and names of every present he’d ever sent anyone.

As an active user of pretty much every social network thats available, as well as a user of services such as Google, Amazon, etc. It is quite a scary thought to know how well these faceless entities know me, they know my tastes probably better then I know myself. I remember a few years ago when Google allowed you to see your own personal search trends, it was an entirely new way to feel completely vulnerable.

As the film continues, it becomes chilling, and you become as paranoid as David. The private investigators are breathing down his neck trying to catch him make a mistake. It’s just a mind blowing concept to know, its most likely impossible to erase every trace of yourself from the archives of the internet. And perhaps, we should think longer about what we share, and what we allow to get out about ourselves in the first place.

‘Erasing David,’ was fascinating and scary at the same time, and you definitely leave the theater thinking a lot about how you approach your own life, and how you share your data.

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