Spies, lies... and pies?


In June 2013 The Guardian chose to publish files leaked by former CIA employee Edward Snowden. These files revealed internet surveillance by the National Security Agency on a scale far greater than any of us imagined. We began to realise that the NSA, and GCHQ in the UK, had access to the emails, messaging services and social networking sites that all of us use, and, by extension, access to information that all of us have regarded as private. A fierce debate about the balance between privacy and security ensued, with The Guardian very much in the eye of the storm.

A few weeks ago, The Guardian launched this amazing multimedia feature, The NSA Files: Decoded. Doesn’t that feel like the future of newspapers? Amazing. Anyway, perhaps as a counterbalance to all that serious, incisive journalism and technically brilliant presentation they also asked us to animate an alternative take on the issue - the latest in our series of ‘Made Simple’ videos. Visualising the movement of data is not the easiest concept to bring to life, but with the help of a few references to The Great British Bake Off, which as everyone knows, accounts for about 28% of all internet traffic, we were able to sprinkle some charm over the subject, without, we hope, over-egging the pudding.

The narration is provided by Guardian technology editor Jemima Kiss, who told Fast Company"The surveillance story will come to be seen as the biggest technology story of the decade, but it has seemed so complicated that the wider public - outside an engaged, techno-literate community - haven't known quite where to start.”

"The Guardian has published hundreds of stories on the NSA, GCHQ, and surveillance, so paring down the core story was actually incredibly hard. There's a balance between [staying] accurate and not being too reductive with the narrative. But we were also quite keen to keep the tone light, witty, and engaging."

And what were Jemima's favourite bits? “I’m particularly pleased with the scene with the guy embracing the lady who turns into a bomb, plus the NSA sucking up everybody and everything at the end.”