State Sponsored Surveillance in The Minority Report

Some of the other concerns that The Minority Report takes up are repression of individual freedom and individual liberty. State sponsored surveillance and issues related to free will are also raised. In this way the story resonates with George Orwell’s 1984, a dystopic sci-fi novel, where state sponsored surveillance becomes a means for mass control and wrongful imprisonment.

The story takes up the issue of state sponsored surveillance which ultimately leads to a curb on citizen rights. The surveillance that we see in the story is not just physical but also mental. The police system is a totalitarian entity with an all-pervasive presence. State sponsored surveillance and issues of privacy are of a vital concern to a free and just society. Hence, the story becomes an important text and becomes acutely relevant for all the time to come because it historicizes not just the American era of the 1950’s but also the current era in the 21st century.

We are told that the precogs do not understand any data that they generate and that the police analyses the data. Similarly, the citizens and the larger public too cannot understand that their perception gets changed and can be easily swayed into believing what the men in power like Anderton and Kaplan had to say. In the story we never once get to hear the public perception of things. And when we get to hear what the public thinks it is expressed in relation to the precrime setup. Witwer in the beginning of the story says that the public opinion about the agency is positive. It is as if the public is fed whatever the men in power decide to feed them with. This reminds how popular public can be made to believe whatever the state believes in and how the rights of the people are done away with, much to their ignorance and the repressive state apparatus. The story then raises vital concerns on how the individuals are framed by those in power into a pre-fabricated society. This shows liberty is just a mirage and the individual a mere plaything.

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