We know what you did during lockdown

An FT Film written by James Graham: “The Covid-19 pandemic has so scrambled our lives that we have barely blinked when the state has told us how many people can attend a wedding, where we can travel or even whether we should hug each other. This normalisation of the abnormal, during the moral panic of a national healthcare emergency, is the subject of People You May Know, a short film written by the playwright James Graham and commissioned by the Financial Times.

One of Britain’s most inquisitive and versatile playwrights, Graham says he has long been worried about the expansion of the “creeping data state” and has an almost “existential anxiety about privacy on all levels, emotional, philosophical, political, social”. Those concerns were first explored in his play Privacy (2014) in response to the revelations of Edward Snowden, the US security contractor turned whistleblower, who described how “the architecture of oppression” of the surveillance state had been built, if not yet fully utilised. 

In his new FT film, Graham investigates how the response to the pandemic has enabled the further intrusion of the data state and what it might mean for us all. “The power of drama is that it allows you to take a few more stepping stones into the imagined future,” he says in a Google Meet interview. …(More) (Film)”