The director of the upcoming Snowden movie has something to say about cell phones, and it's one of those PSAs that flashes on the big screen before a movie starts. The video also sounds like a clever promo for the movie itself, which happens to be about the ex-NSA whistleblower.
At first, Oliver Stone talks about the number of great things that a cell phone can do, referring to smartphones as a prime example. He says you can use it to talk to someone from anywhere on the planet and even access the internet while on the go. Of course, modern smartphones can do so much more, including playing games, accessing your car's OBD2 codes via Bluetooth, remote controlling your PlayStation 4, and even paying your bills.
Whoever asked Oliver Stone to do a cell phone movie theater PSA, thank you. Thank you very much. https://t.co/A4FhgHAav2
— Josh Feldman (@feldmaniac) August 4, 2016
That touchscreen device can do so much that Ubisoft even made a video game franchise out of the possibilities, called Watch Dogs. In the vein of Watch Dogs, the Snowden movie's director also has some warnings that go beyond the simple courtesy of turning it off while you're watching a movie.
Oliver Stone swears your cell phone will ruin your life. https://t.co/hxGFf98plg
— WIRED Culture (@Wired_Culture) August 4, 2016
Some things that many moviegoers have had the habit of doing is texting during a movie, recording concerts for pirated cam files, and even live-tweeting the movie from start to finish. The bright screen and tones can be distracting to others who also paid to see it, and the possibility of online piracy has forced many theaters to get tougher on recording devices.
The director of the Snowden movie says there are much more sinister things that device is capable of, and it goes beyond simply ruining others' experience in the theater.
"Hi, I'm Oliver Stone. This amazing little device allows us to talk to someone across the globe, express our views on sites visible by millions, or even order Chinese food while watching cat videos... but that's not all it does. It allows certain parties to track your every move every time you make a call, and send a text. We are giving them access. The information you put out into the world voluntarily is enough to burn your life to the ground. This will be our undoing. [Do you] think I'm being dramatic? Then don't take my word for it. But do the rest of the people in the audience a big favor. Turn off your phone during the movie."
The director of the Snowden movie does have a point, but it might not be as bad as he makes it sound with clever editing and sound effects.
Be smart with how you use your cell phone and limit what you tell people on the internet. Don't connect "check-in" apps to Facebook and other social media sites, as the instant you tell your friends that you're at Church's Chicken picking up a 12-piece meal, attentive burglars know you're not home. Also, be careful what you talk about on Twitter and other sites. They collect information you post and use it to sell you things you probably are better off not buying at the moment.The subject behind the Snowden movie has spent the better part of his career tracking things like that, as well as the content of your phone calls and text messages. The NSA is keeping tabs on anyone who might be a potential terrorist, and the wrong Google search could have the police pounding on your door.
There are also hackers whose jobs are simply to figure out your password, steal sensitive information about you, and possibly steal your identity.
In the end, just be courteous to theater patrons during the Snowden movie and other films, and turn off your cell phone as Oliver Stone says.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]