Phantom Parrot

The revelation of a top-secret British surveillance programme brings down the dominoes in a dark and analytical film about technology, rights and structural racism – and about a man with the courage to speak out.

If British police ask for the password to your phone or computer, you must hand it over to them in accordance with an anti-terror law that came into force before 9/11. When human rights activist Muhammad Rabbani refuses and is prosecuted, a journalist is able to uncover documents proving
the existence of a top-secret surveillance programme, code-named Phantom Parrot, designed to copy the personal data of individuals at airports and border crossings – and people from minority backgrounds are often the first to be pulled aside.

And from there, the dominoes start falling in all directions in a dark detective film about technology, surveillance and structural racism in a time where knowledge might still equal power but where data is even better.

A razor-sharp analysis that unravels the threads and allows us to understand both the scale and gravity of the Phantom Parrot programme.


  • Year: 2023
  • Duration: 88 mins
  • Production: Steven Lake
  • Director: Kate Stonehill
  • Available Versions: ENG
  • Country of production: England


  • CPH:Dox 2023 (Denmark), Sheffield Doc Fest 2023 (UK) , Galway Film Fleadh 2023 (Ireland), DokuFest 2023 (Kosovo), Zurich Film Festival 2023 (Switzerland), , Human Rights Film Festival Berlin 2023 (Germany), Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival 2023 (Washington DC, USA)