The government has cameras everywhere, and is watching all the time. We are all under surveillance. Everything we do is seen and everything we say is heard. Does this sound like the description of a place you want to live, or a frightening dystopia? The people behind the TV show, Person Of Interest want you to like this idea, and are producing the show for the express purpose of selling it to you. Why would they do such a thing? Because the government is paying them to.
During the Bush Administration, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) began a program called Total Information Awareness, that would be the very same pervasive surveillance apparatus I have described. There was a public outcry, and Congress defunded the project. The reaction of the FBI, CIA, ATF, FEMA and Pentagon to this rejection of their plans was a public relations campaign to pitch Americans the idea that constant surveillance will protect them from terrorists and criminals, making them safe. Person Of Interest is a key part of this marketing ploy. They also hope you will believe the age old lie that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. In truth, we all have to fear anyone who has too much power.
In the show, Michael Emerson plays Mr. Finch. People who watched LOST will recognize him as Ben Linus. Mr. Finch is a computer genius who is officially supposed to be dead. He was the chief designer of the government surveillance system in the show, and it sends him the social security numbers of people who are in danger. With the help of John Reese, played by Jim Caviezel, they try to stop bad things from happening to innocent people. Reese is a former Green Beret who is also supposed to be dead. They hope this will keep anyone from noticing them.
Person Of Interest is getting positive reviews, good ratings and awards nominations. Unless people are consuming it purely for entertainment, the government's sales pitch for a 1984 style police state is working. I find this very unsettling. It could lead to the majority welcoming a cruel despot who promises to protect them from the criminal and terrorist boogiemen, never considering that we are more likely to be hit in the head by a meteorite than to be attacked by terrorists.
Though other big brother style programs do exist, such as Carnivore and Echelon, which are supposed to read everyone's email looking for terrorist and criminal words, none are as pervasive as TIA would have been. They would also be insignificant compared to what will be in the future if we are fooled by this propaganda. Let's not get fooled. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. A reasonable amount of privacy is a basic human right.