Hollywood Paranoia and Reality


Remember those movies with titles like Enemy of the State, or Three Days of the Condor, or Clear and Present Danger? The hero is single-handedly up against a corrupt government agency which combines the power and scope of the FBI, the CIA and the National Security Agency into one sinister authority that's out to get him. You know the ones I mean, in which there are countless close-ups of computer screens and keyboards scanning through millions of records in the data base of the agency which discover not only our hero's Social Security number, but his bank account, his medical records, and his credit card account - all this in three or four seconds. Then they make all these vanish into thin air, thereby making him a non-person. They seem able to keep constant tabs on him, wherever he is in the world - visualizing him or listening to his thoughts at will - all by way of their omniscient computers. They can tell what kind of breakfast cereal he eats just by accessing his supermarket’s records and cross checking with the credit card he paid with.
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