Parents' Guide to

Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

True crime docu has language, sexual violence, drugs.

Movie NR 2023 101 minutes
Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld movie poster:  red lines lead to a closed door

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This is an engrossing documentary about cybercriminals who don't think of themselves as criminals and the dangerous and lucrative business they ran from a former NATO bunker in rural Germany. Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld explores how a group of eccentric hackers provided hosting services to the dark web in near-total isolation, creating their own world and living out their ethos fantasies of "total freedom." In the interviews, the hackers come across as odious and downright creepy, particularly those who don't see anything wrong with hosting websites that traffic in child pornography.

This idea of "freedom" is one of the more interesting aspects of this documentary. To paraphrase one of the investigators who helped to work for the capture and arrest of the hackers: What does it mean when someone's extreme idea of freedom comes at the expense of the lives of innocent victims, to say nothing of the loss of their freedom? It's an idea that extends well beyond weird and arguably sociopathic computer hackers and leads into how there's a responsibility to individual freedom and the rule of law that gets lost among those who seem to believe that "freedom" means the right to be a selfish jerk at the expense of everyone else. Because, the key takeaway from Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld is that these hackers, for all their brains and pretensions, are selfish jerks.

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