Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections

Voting Booths in Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America's Elections. Courtesy of HBO.

Whether you’re concerned or not, Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections will have you think twice the next time you enter the ballot booth.

I’ve been a longtime proponent of the paper ballot provided there are no hanging chads.  I’m looking at you, Election 2000.  Don’t think we haven’t forgotten the mess.  The fact of the matter is that we cannot depend on using electronics when it comes to voting.  Only a paper ballot can offer the safety and security that we deserve.  Granted, there’s always the probable likelihood of ballots getting misplaced and not counted.  At the end of the day, we wouldn’t have to worry about hacking.  This is why this documentary displays an importance.

A trio of filmmakers follow Finnish hacker and cyber security expert Harri Hursti around the world.  This is important because he knows the stakes at hand.  It’s also pertinent that people listen to what could happen.  I know this is an HBO documentary but I almost wish it was airing on Netflix because more people subscribe to Netflix.  Heck, I’d even take an airing on basic cable if it means getting the point across.

There are four members of the U.S. Senate that make an appearance: Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).  The appearance of Sen. Lankford shows that the efforts are bipartisan.  At least it is to a certain extent.  Other experts manage to chime in.  Meanwhile, the filmmakers talk to a hacker who hacked the Alaska election in 2016.

There’s certainly a sense of urgency in needing solutions.  Thankfully, this is something that Kill Chain manages to offer concerned Americans.  One such solution is paper ballots.  There’s no risk of hacking when we use paper ballots.  We do need to focus on the current attempts at intimidating voters.  This could certainly be the subject of another documentary in its own right.

As we head into the 2020 election, there’s also another reason why we should be concerned.  Hursti also has experience with hacking a machine that is commonly used for electronic voting.  The proof is out there even if there are leaders who choose to ignore it.  We cannot under any circumstance ignore threats against our elections.  What happens if people decide not to listen?  Will we ever be able to trust electronic voting booths?

Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections is a documentary that cannot be ignored under any circumstances.

DIRECTORS:  Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels, and Sarah Teale
FEATURING:  Harri Hursti, James Lankford, Mark Warner, Ron Wyden, Amy Klobuchar, Jeff MOss, Douglas Lute, Jake Stauffer, Marilyn Marks, J. Alex Halderman, Philip Stark

Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections airs March 26, 2020 at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.