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Spielberg on Privacy, Minority Report 366

Posted by michael
from the HomeSec dept.
Staring at Nothing writes "In this ABC News story famed Hollywood director Steven Spielberg voices some concerns over the current state of privacy and paranoia in a post-9/11 world. Some of Spielberg's recent movies, like AI and Minority Report have brought us haunting views of the future, but the present may be just as scary. He mentions software being developed to monitor "abnormal behavior" and concerns about originality being misconstrued as dangerous behavior." The story has some minor plot spoilers about Minority Report.
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Spielberg on Privacy, Minority Report

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  • If people from the future came to arrest me for a future crime that I hadnt commited yet, could I just say to myself 'Adam, dont do this in the future' and memorize it or something, could I make them disappear, since they're from the future and all and I told my future self not to commit this crime. Ahh, brain hurts, time pretzel, OW!
    • They're not from the future. They rely on pseudo-psychics to foretell murders and they then arrest the would-be murderers. No time travel necessary.
    • no no no....

      The cops are from the present, but their little pet psi's can see into the future... "Sheepab is going to kill the goatsex guy tommorow... do we want to stop him, or just slap his wrist after the fact?"
    • Well, something like that worked for Bill and Ted... sorta kinda... in a roundabout, not really way.

      "To be fair, not all evil robots are killers." - Marge Simpson

  • Spielberg's 180 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alexmogil (442209)
    What's with his addiction to dark movies these days? AI, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report... yeek.

    Maybe he's gotten to the point in his career where he wants to send a message with his movies. Not that I'm asking for Flintstones III any time soon.

  • Tagline (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vidmaster_Steve (455301) on Friday June 21, 2002 @06:41PM (#3746800) Homepage
    The film's tagline, er, the Society's tagline, just sends a shiver down my spine: "Safety IS Freedom." Wonderful dystopian world view, just like in Farenheit 451, bastardizing something that Ben Franklin had said regarding the most basic of human freedoms. Just plain beautiful on Speilberg's part.

    But, I'm certain that we can rest assured that those in power in Warshington will see this as the WAVE OF THE FUTURE! SAFTEY IS FREEDOM! And while we're at it, democracy works, right?

    Bah. I just recently moved from Nevada to The Great Socialist Utopia across the Sierras. (for monetary reasons, not by fucking choice). I've been here for three days, and I already miss my freedoms. This "seatbelt" bullshit makes me want to exact my patriotism and destroy any tyrant who dares impede my freedom to keep me "safe."

    Been here for half a week, and I'm already wanting to kill cops and politicians. This place fucking turns men into animals. I must free myself...

    • Re:Tagline (Score:4, Insightful)

      by UncleAwesome (259162) on Friday June 21, 2002 @07:00PM (#3746912) Homepage
      Slashdot folks seem to play the role of the Dilbert boss when it comes to social issues. They expect the best of both worlds. They want uncompromising individual freedom and privacy, but at the same time expect the government to prevent bad stuff from happening to them. They set unreasonable expectations with unrealistic constraints and cry foul when government errs wrong on either side. They only seem to realize the existence of tradeoffs only in software projects and not within society. Its quite amusing in a sad clown sort of way.
      • Re:Tagline (Score:2, Insightful)

        "They[we] want uncompromising individual freedom and privacy, but at the same time expect the government to prevent bad stuff from happening to them."

        Before you convince too many people of our hypocracy, most of us know the government can't stop "bad stuff" happening, and has no interest in doing so anyway

        Given that, taking away freedom and privacy "to protect you" just adds insult to injury, as they implement policies (RIP, the terrorism bill) which stand no chance of protecting anyone, but take away the freedoms anyway.
        cat common_sense | government
      • indeed. I have always thought about it like this:

        Freedom x Security = K (constant)

        You can't get more of one without giving up some of the other.
    • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Friday June 21, 2002 @07:22PM (#3747018) Journal
      Have you read George Orwell's 1984?

      The three slogans of the Party say it all:

      War Is Peace
      Slavery Is Freedom
      Ignorance Is Strength


      Not a large jump from those to Speilberg's "Safety Is Freedom".

      (Check out http://www.newspeakdictionary.com for more, including the full text of 1984.)
      • I would argue that Safety actually *is* freedom. In the movie, they can only tell when murder is about to occur - not other violence, rape, copyright infringement, cable theft, or other, lesser crimes. How great would the world be if we didn't have to fear for our lives? It'd be almost as free a world as if there were no spam. We wouldn't have to hide.
        If only they could predict the weather...

        BTW, Minority Report sucks ass, it's an insult to your intelligence.
        I watched it on an Imax screen with a 10,000 watt sound system, there's one part in the movie that scared the crap out of me. Not nightmares, or make-you-afraid-of-the-dark scared so much as quiet, quiet, 10,000 watts blaring scared.
        • BTW, Minority Report sucks ass, it's an insult to your intelligence. I watched it on an Imax screen with a 10,000 watt sound system, there's one part in the movie that scared the crap out of me. Not nightmares, or make-you-afraid-of-the-dark scared so much as quiet, quiet, 10,000 watts blaring scared.

          ...doo-doo-dee-doo...





          RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        • I would argue that Safety actually *is* freedom.

          Hardly. You pervert the term in the same way as FDR's 4 Freedoms. "Freedom from fear" is not freedom, no one can make you be afraid except yourself. "Freedom from slavery" on the other hand is more valid as it's complement is typically violence-backed slavery. Freedom is the ability to act however you like or believe anything you want. It cannot be freedom from, it must be freedom to.

          Freedom commonly involves risk. Driving at 120mph might well end your life. Smoking too much crack might cause you to OD. But true freedom ignores the consequences, leaving the only arbiter of freedom to the laws of nature and personal preference. Your vision of freedom is boring, imagine if everyone had to avoid doing anything that offended anyone.

          The only just restrictions of freedom are those of imposing your will on someone else by force. In any other situation, the person can ignore or avoid you.

          In the movie, they can only tell when murder is about to occur - not other violence, rape, copyright infringement, cable theft, or other, lesser crimes. How great would the world be if we didn't have to fear for our lives? It'd be almost as free a world as if there were no spam. We wouldn't have to hide.

          Sure but who says it's 100% accurate. The US requires that you prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt - could you guarantee me that up until the minute the suspect points a gun at the victim that he was going to kill him based solely on some previously accurate 'psychics'? I may dream hateful epithets and envision killing someone in my mind. There is nothing wrong with that until I put into action a plan to carry it out.

          BTW, Minority Report sucks ass, it's an insult to your intelligence.
          I watched it on an Imax screen with a 10,000 watt sound system, there's one part in the movie that scared the crap out of me. Not nightmares, or make-you-afraid-of-the-dark scared so much as quiet, quiet, 10,000 watts blaring scared.


          Nice non-sequitur. You manage to condemn the movie off-handedly and then follow with what appears to be a compliment, though you really fail to carry through and finish either idea. It's not suprising you don't like the movie as you are the kind of person Spielberg (and presumably P. K. Dick) is trying to fight against.
          • Sure but who says it's 100% accurate. The US requires that you prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt - could you guarantee me that up until the minute the suspect points a gun at the victim that he was going to kill him based solely on some previously accurate 'psychics'? I may dream hateful epithets and envision killing someone in my mind. There is nothing wrong with that until I put into action a plan to carry it out.

            I don't think it's 100% accurate, and in fact the movie's point is that it's not a perfect system. The murders predicted are going to happen, but everything else, including the circumstances surrounding the murder, are not always clear, and that is what makes all the difference.
            But that's not my point. In the movie, Tom Cruise visits one of the original creators of the pre-crime system, and she's not afraid of him even though she knows that he's going to murder somebody, he's not going to murder her. Not having to worry about that takes a load off of one's mind, and that was my point. Any other comments you made based on the stance you assume I am taking are fine, but don't assume that I stand on the other side of the fence. I'm pro-murder-free-world, and if you assume by my previous post that I'm pro-anything else (except for 10,000 watt sound systems), then you're incorrect.

            Your vision of freedom is boring, imagine if everyone had to avoid doing anything that offended anyone.

            Your vision of my vision of freedom is incorrect.
    • That would be the law that they pawned off on us about 10 years ago by saying: "This is for YOU...besides, we'll only cite someone $15.00 for not wearing their seatbelt if we've pulled them over for another infraction". Based upon these safeguards, the voters in California approved a seatbelt law... WELL GUESS WHAT?? Seems a couple of years ago, the CA legislature changed the law...without telling or involving the voters. Now they CAN pull you over JUST for not wearing your seatbelt..and the fine is now more then doubled too... This is how government works...they get the citizens to allow the door to be cracked open...next thing you know the door has been removed from its hinges!
    • Re:Tagline (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sheetsda (230887) <doug,sheets&gmail,com> on Friday June 21, 2002 @07:32PM (#3747064)
      bastardizing something that Ben Franklin had said regarding the most basic of human freedoms

      While looking through a quote book looking for that quote, I found:

      "Since the general civilizations of mankind I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." --James Madison

      Rather appropriate to our current situation IMO.
    • Re:Tagline (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun.gmail@com> on Friday June 21, 2002 @07:57PM (#3747175) Journal
      This "seatbelt" bullshit makes me want to exact my patriotism and destroy any tyrant who dares impede my freedom to keep me "safe"
      Lord knows it couldn't POSSIBLY have anything to do with the fact that a person wearing a seatbelt is much more able to keep control of their vehicle in an emergency situation, and thus helps to avoid endangering OTHERS as well as yourself.
      • The problem with freedom and privacy is that if a police, sheriff, or highway patrol officer pulls up next to you and notices that you are not wearing your seat belt, he can (and will) pull you over and write you a ticket, regardless of whether you also commit any traffic-related violations. Many, many people have been pulled over for routine violations (missing taillight, seatbelts, etc) and are subsequently arrested for DUI or drug possetion.

        The police believe that they have some kind of "premonition" or "precognition" or "sixth sense" when it comes to people they see on the street. They're not allowed to stop everyone they are curious about. However, they use rules like the seat belt rule to stop those of whom they are suspicious.

      • I disagree. If you get hit by someone else chances of you keeping your hands securely on the wheel are small in the first place. Not to mention having an air bag blow open in your face if you get hit hard enough.

        A friend got re-ended at only about 25-30 miles an hour and pushed into another car. He had his hands securely on both sides of the wheel but the sudden impact knocked him around enough (even with a seat belt) that he had no control of the wheel.

        Imagine if he'd been hit at 60-65-70.
      • Lord knows it couldn't POSSIBLY have anything to do with the fact that a person wearing a seatbelt is much more able to keep control of their vehicle in an emergency situation, and thus helps to avoid endangering OTHERS as well as yourself.

        So why, then, does the law require all passengers to be belted as well? So they won't be flying around the interior and distracting the driver? There are physics problems with that notion, but I'll just point out that if you're worried about things flying around the crashing car, we need to hurry up and pass a law requiring all loose objects to be strapped down as well.

        Further, why is it that your argument was never raised during all of the debates I read about when the laws were passed?

        The fact is that the seat belt laws were passed because they would save the lives of those wearing them and for no other reason whatsoever. This is the nanny state at work, albeit in a relatively benign way, and your sneering revisionism changes that not a whit.

    • The Great Socialist Utopia across the Sierras

      They don't call it the "People's Republic of California" for nothing.

    • Having lived 80% of my life in the "Great Socialist Utopia" I'm well aware that the only people who call it that are libertarians and other extreme right wingers. If you don't like it go the fuck back where you came from and leave it to people who appreciate a responsible progressive society that encourages people to participate rather than just observe.

      Mod me down fascist bastards!
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday June 21, 2002 @06:43PM (#3746809)
    > Spielberg: "What really disturbs me - a nerd who does have a weird walk - is that I imagine that suddenly a van pulls up and hauls me into an interrogation, you know, for being original ... or for being different."

    Huh? Spielberg's going dystopian? Sounds more like Monty Python!

  • I definately think privacy is used as a sort of currency in today's technological world. People will pay in goods and services if you fill out a survey. I'm ok with that, as long as I know what I'm getting for my privacy. What I hate is when punks steal my privacy.
  • creepy future. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alien54 (180860) on Friday June 21, 2002 @06:44PM (#3746815) Journal
    I find it refreshing that artist such as Spielberg are able to shine some sort of light on these issues, engcouraging debate, and hopefully taking some of the wind out of the sails of those that do not see the danger and bad side effects of their proposed solutions.

    Some of the scenes of targeted marketing, projecting ads towards you as you walk down the hallway, all tailored just for yuo are pretty spooky.

    some of the depicted technology looks downrigt creepy. and that is just from the marketing side, nevermind the government side.

    the ultimate in spam, everywhere you go.

    • I find it refreshing that artist such as Spielberg are able to shine some sort of light on these issues, engcouraging debate, and hopefully taking some of the wind out of the sails of those that do not see the danger and bad side effects of their proposed solutions.

      I'm not sure I would refer to Spielberg's comments as shining "some light" because anyone who reads slashdot regularly is already well familiar with these issues and he's certainly not bringing anything new or profound to the table. However, I do agree with your point (at least what I believe your point is) and that is that we need public figured like Spielberg to start fleshing out these ideas for others to think about. Let's face it, the most beautifully written post here on slashdot is going to have neglible impact on whether our privacy is taken away or not. But someone like Spielberg has the entire Western world listening to his comments. What he says may seem pretty obvious to us but will actually seem profound to the millions of people who see nothing wrong with public face-scanners and all the other surveillance devices either currently in operation or on the drawing board.

      I guess my post is a long-winded way of saying I agree with you that we need people like Spielberg to publicize the privacy issues for the benefit of those who don't think unless a celebrity gives them something to chew on.

      GMD

    • "the ultimate in spam, everywhere you go"

      Right. Now imagine introducing someone from as little as 50 years ago to modern television... "you must watch the adverts, it's in the contract"

  • babbling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neildogg (119502) on Friday June 21, 2002 @06:44PM (#3746819) Homepage
    Okay, so if these pre-cogs can see into the future, and through this the cops can arrest the people before they commit the crime, how can the pre-cogs see that the crime was committed. ie the only crime that the pre-cogs should be able to see is crimes that the cops are unable to stop. and if the cops can't see any crime that they can stop, then what would be the point?

    In regards to this discussion, I'm unsure about how we've managed to have this society where we watch so carefully airport passengers, yet allow millions of people to drive, AFTER undergoing a test of their aptitude when they shouldn't be able to drive at all. Besides that, there are stories of STOP signs being removed, stop lights malfunctioning, etc. We all know driving is dangerous, yet no one seems to care about preventing accidents when it should be so balantantly easy if things were as tight as they are in the FAA. Flying sucks, I grew up enjoying flying, but I'm not sure where it went wrong. I feel like I've done something wrong when I fly and I don't like it.
    • so if these pre-cogs can see into the future, and through this the cops can arrest the people before they commit the crime, how can the pre-cogs see that the crime was committed. ie the only crime that the pre-cogs should be able to see is crimes that the cops are unable to stop. and if the cops can't see any crime that they can stop, then what would be the point?


      Instead of blindly arresting "pre-criminals", why don't the police simply use the pre-cogs information as tips. The police can then stake out the (future) crime scene. They can catch the criminal in the act. Bring a video camera and they can catch the actual criminal act on tape for the court room. This reminds of the Woody Allen movie ("Bananas"?) where the news reporter is reporting live from an in-progress assassination.

    • I feel like I've done something wrong when I fly and I don't like it.


      You've echoed the same sentiments I have heard from a number of my friends and family who fly frequently. I honestly think this is just the tip of the iceberg. The clamp down with airport security is the appetizer for the main course: synonymous security measures taken in all major urban areas. When suicide bombers start making their American debut (and they will!), this nation is going to see unprescedented restrictions of the freedom to move about in metropolitan areas. Imagine that feeling of having done something wrong on a daily basis as you go about the routine activities of your life. I honestly believe that's where we are headed.


      I just wonder how such measures will affect our societal psychology. Oppressing a people b/c of the actions of others? I suspect the effect may be similar to that of the RIAA and MPAA assuming everyone is committing copyright infringement - people resent being treated like criminals and begin to commit the very acts the [RI,MP]AA thinks it can prevent. If this country adopts the ridiculous notion that "Safety is Freedom", then our "cure" may create a new "disease" - in our attempt to be "safe" from terrorists we may unwittingly breed a generation of new terrorists who fight the American police state we are slowly moving towards.

  • by martyn s (444964) on Friday June 21, 2002 @06:44PM (#3746820)
    I just came back from minority report, and I really got a say, it sucks almost as bad as AI did. I was expecting a really profound message, and was very excited to see it, considering the current political climate, but you don't get anything profound or interesting from this movie. The worst part is the way spielberg explains everything out to you and treats you like a child. Spielberg has ruined *two* films that had great potential. AI, and now this.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    At rottentomatoes.com they say that 96% of reviewers give Minority Report a positive review. Don't listen to them.
    • can't let that go (Score:5, Interesting)

      by seanw (45548) on Friday June 21, 2002 @07:00PM (#3746908)
      and don't listen to anyone who states their opinion as though it's some kind of fact. I also got back from seeing this movie about an hour ago, and have already decided I consider it the best of the year so far. and I have a feeling a won't be able to forget it overnight.

      I'm not going to post a full review here, but suffice to say my only criticisms are that it felt a bit long, and that some of the ideas could have been better developed (there's a LOT of ideas in this movie). but concepts aside, it absolutely grabbed me on a viscreral and emotional level. I knew it had worked for me when I walked out of the theater and took several minutes to fully reacclimate to the normal world--it was almost like culture shock. to each their own opinion, I say.

      sean
      • Re:can't let that go (Score:3, Informative)

        by martyn s (444964)
        Let me say something, before you judge me: I was *really* excited to see this movie, and I don't overanalyze movies the way you seem to think I am. If something "grabs me on a visceral and emotional level" I'll love it and that's all there is to it. All the analyzing in the world won't be able to make me think a movie that makes me feel that way is bad (see gattaca, truman show).

        Not only that, I was really really primed to LOVE this movie. I was already thinking about seeing it again, before I saw it the first time.

        But it just didn't work out that way, and I'm very disappointed. I'm sorry I sounded like I was stating my opinion as a fact. I thought I made it pretty clear that most critics disagreed with me (96% on rotten tomatoes). Without saying anything about how any of you will enjoy the film, let me be clear: *I* did not enjoy the film. YMMV
        • hey, no big deal--I wasn't attacking you so much as defending the movie. I am sorry you had such a crappy experience. I think to some extent it's a symptom of our culture (and one that Minority Report commented on) that movies are hyped so far over the top. it generates a box office bash, but also a lot of disappointed movie fans. thanks for replying, though.

          sean
          • Thing is, I'm not swayed by "hype" and that has no bearing on how I felt about the film. Maybe I missed the point, and maybe I will, in fact, see it again. But I was hoping for the experience that you seem to have gotten, but I, unfortunately, did not. It just didn't carry the kind of message, or commentary I was hoping for. I wasn't looking for flash, I was looking for something really profound, and I didn't really get it.
        • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Friday June 21, 2002 @07:32PM (#3747065) Journal
          You thought Gattaca was a bad movie?

          I don't know about the rest of the Slashdot crowd but I know I speak for more than a handful of people when I say that Gattaca was perhaps one of the best pieces of sci-fi that I've ever seen on the big screen.

          Yeah, it doesn't have a ton of special effects but the film has everything - a good basic story, a few twists along the way, some great performances and a message that stays with you longer than the time it takes for the end credits to finish.

          Compared to today's average "sci-fi" film - dross that's nothing more than eye candy, such as ID4 - Gattaca is mana from heaven.

          If only all sci-fi was as beautifully-crafted and thought-provoking.
          • No, no, not at all. I was referring to Gattaca and The Truman Show as movies which just grabbed me in a visceral type of way. I was saying I *LOVED* those movies.
          • Gattaca was only bad because (a) the premise was a bit stupid; and (b) it was massively underproduced. It felt like it was a Sci-Fi channel production, rather than a major studio release. And (c) the thing about the swimming, purely stupid and manipulative. I give it a 6. I don't remember if Uma got naked in it, but if she did, 7.

            --Blair
      • If you can't tell the difference between opinion and fact, regardless of how it is stated, then you have bigger problems than what movie to go to.

        Examples:

        "Minority Report" is 153 minutes long. (Stated as fact, but may or may not be true.)

        "Minority Report" is the worst movie since "Dude Where's My Car". (Clearly an opinion.)

        • My opinion is that MR is worse than DWMC. Certainly, they are very different movies, but Minority Report just bored me. I was ready to walk out after all the exposition with the crazy gardener lady.
      • May I add:

        Ditto,
        ditto,
        and ditto.

        This movie will be on my mind all week. It impressed me on many levels, including: sci-fi coolness, intellectual, and immersive thriller.
    • I am tired of the ass kissing everyone does of Spielberg.

      It was horrible and cliched. It should have ended 30 minutes before the official end. ENDING THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A STATEMENT ABOUT WHERE WE ARE GOING!

      Tell me, why in the hell does Hollywood think we need happy endings?

      Anyone who claims that this movie is profound or is making a statement hasn't been living in this world that long.

      The movie did have a neat vision of gadgets in the future. I would love one of those spiders as a pet.
  • by wrinkledshirt (228541) on Friday June 21, 2002 @06:47PM (#3746841) Homepage
    I don't think Spielberg's the real expert here. AI was originally a project of Kubrick's, and Minority Report is based off PK Dick, both of whom were troubled about the future while Spielberg thought it would be a hoot doing movies about trucker road rage and aliens who can make bikes fly.

    Although I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that he'd try to capitalize on current social context to pump up his own film... Ah, yes, "relevence"...
    • by Macrobat (318224) on Friday June 21, 2002 @07:09PM (#3746962)
      I shouldn't be surprised that he'd try to capitalize on current social context to pump up his own film...

      Maybe that's what he's doing, but the message that you can't trust a pre-emptive police state is written pretty obviously throughout the movie, and it went into production before 9/11. So he's capitalizing on a wider social context than just the current hysteria/paranoia. And why shouldn't he? Don't artists get to criticize society? And does doing a kiddie movie like E.T. automatically and forever prevent him from having anything to say about the world?

      • It's not like he came up with that message though. Go read the original short story by P.K. Dick. Actually, if what I've heard is true, the one thing I think I can probably give props to Spielberg here for is actually staying true to the original short story. Blade Runner, for all it's amazing qualities, is nothing like PK Dick's book, and don't even get me started on Total Recall....
      • Don't artists get to criticize society? And does doing a kiddie movie like E.T. automatically and forever prevent him from having anything to say about the world?

        No, I think his complete lack of faith in his audience automatically and forever prevents him from having anything to say about the world... or better yet, actions speak louder than words and his "talking" about the evils of government in a movie which blatantly shows how little he cares about the people under it - namely, the audience - disregards the message he tries to convery with his crappy movie. This might all seem like rambling because I don't want to give away any spoilers (the ending sucked big time), but I walked out of that theatre very disappointed in the movie and it's [lack of] vision.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ..he shouldn't fund terrorism.

    But he does. He employs Tom Cruise, who will pay his cult, who will hire lawyers to attack innocent people.

    It reminds me of that stupid drugs-terrorism superbowl commercial, except this one is real and the connection is obvious.

    I'll pass on this movie, thankyouverymuch. Of if I do watch it, be assured it will be a pirated copy. Paying to watch this movie would be a form of treason.

  • Though his intellect [lostbrain.com] is limited in comparison to Spielberg's.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday June 21, 2002 @07:05PM (#3746939)
    One of the press junkets for A.I. had a very transhumanist influenced Spielberg going about on the future and ended with a dire warning about how AI and robots are going to enslave humanity. Why 21st or 22nd century A.I. would have the same needs and wants, if that's even possible, as an 18th century slaveholder is beyond me. Spielberg is a filmmaker - a storyteller first and a philospher last.

    As far as tracking and privacy goes, well we're going to have to expect a loss of privacy in public spaces. Its inevitable, so lets do it smart. The biggest and in my opinion most valid criticism of profiling software is that it just doesn't work. False positives are the norm and when it does work I wonder how much of a role lady luck in the form of lousy software played. Either its going to be Joe the Security Guard calling the shots or the software, and it looks like Joe's intuition at this point outperforms software.

    As far as Columbine profiling paranoia goes, I'm certainly against it. But minors don't enjoy the rights the 18 and over crowd does and that isn't going to change soon. So if schools do start profiling the anti-social (or whomever) it would behoove all parties involved to look at the data objectively. I would prefer the end result to show the truth about many people classified as anti-social, geeks or whatever: that they're usually intelligent and good humored people that simply do not have the interests of your typical HS kid instead of the assumption that they're all borderline psychos.

    If this stuff is going to happen I would rather see people concerned with oversight and disclosure instead of the head in the sand attitude of 'you can't fight city hall.'
  • is privacy freedom? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Openadvocate (573093)
    When ever the debate about monitoring and privacy comes up, I always say that I truly hate being monitored all the time. And the answer you always get is that you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear. Well that's really an entire different discussion.
    I like turning my cell phone off when I am not working. Often worries friends and family because they can't reach me when I'm not home. What's up with that. 5 years ago one would travel around Europe and the only thing they would hear from you was a postcard. These days where you can bring your phone all over and people can reach you it destroys all the fun.
    This brings me back to the part about monitoring. If something as simple as the ability of people to reach you everywhere via your phone has clearly changed the behavior and our culture. If we were to be monitored all over inside and outside our house, I am quite sure that it would change our behavior as well. Now I am no psychiatrist so I can't really give any conclusions about how we would change, but somehow I doubt that it would be for the better. I would say that it would generate far more problems than it solve. Well it help that I does not all happens at once. This is of course often the fear that people are not aware of all the little changes that ends up in total monitoring of your life and when it does happen, we would all have got used to it(?) and not worry about it at all because it would happen so slowly that the culture would be able to change and adapt.

  • Obligatory quotes... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Loki_1929 (550940) on Friday June 21, 2002 @08:35PM (#3747326) Journal
    Feel 'free' to add to these. (pardon my pun)

    "Now we must choose between safety and freedom, we must not flinch if freedom means anything." - Dennis Burke, USA Today

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

    "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

    "If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too." - Somerset Maugham

    "My greatest fear is that too many members of the public will embrace the government's call to give up some freedom in return for greater safety, only to find that they have lost freedom without gaining safety." - Nadine Strossen, President ACLU

    "Liberty without learning is always in peril and learning without liberty is always in vain." - John F. Kennedy

    "Better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees." - Dolores Ibarruri

    "He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression." - Thomas Paine

    "I know not what course others may take but as for me: give me liberty or give me death." - Patrick Henry

    "When the rights of just one individual are denied, the rights of all are in jeopardy!" - Jo Ann Roach

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

  • In this interview [suntimes.com] Roger Ebert talks with Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise regarding Minority Report. Spielberg speaks on the point of the future direction of advertising and privacy:
    The Internet is watching us now. If they want to, they can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we're part of the medium. The scary thing us, we'll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.
  • by Anenga (529854) on Friday June 21, 2002 @10:20PM (#3747667)
    I just saw his latest creation (that's been released), Minority Report. Great movie, in all aspects.

    However, there was one thing that bothered me in the movie. When John (Tom Cruise) walks around town, advertisments are everywhere. And they are personalized. "You deserve a cruise John Anderson!" "John Anderson! Get a free account at Washington Mutual!". And this isn't just in his living room, it's in PUBLIC! Meaning everyone knows who you are! I mean, what if your a celebrity and it says "Get half off on Jello Tom Cruise!" then everyone will go "TOM CRUISE?! WHERE?!".

    Something else, when he walks into GAP it says "Enjoy those low-cut jeans Mr. Yakamoto?". What if you don't want people to know what kind of clothes you buy? I mean, what if you went into a video rental store and it said "Enjoy Naughty Nurses 2000 Mr. Anderson?".

    How I see, if you ask "What about my privacy?!" in 15 years people will laugh at you. Is that bad? Not really. It isn't good either. It's just the future.
  • by alizard (107678) <.moc.sice. .ta. .drazila.> on Friday June 21, 2002 @10:51PM (#3747764) Homepage
    Has Spielberg broken with MPAA? Has he stopped funding anti-Internet and anti-privacy politicians like Feinstein and Boxer? Has he done anything which would cause a reasonable person to assume that he really is putting his money where his mouth is? As for his choice of actors, I think this speaks about his real personal priorities.

    OpenSecrets link to Spielberg's soft money campaign contributors [opensecrets.org]

    He's just another phony liberal in the great Hollywood phony liberal tradition. When he finds another set of buzzwords and social concerns that'll pull in his target demographic, he'll use them, i.e. don't be surprised if he sounds like Rush Limbaugh someday.

    Right now, he's using the right buzzwords for people who pretend to themselves that they still have social concerns while providing the dollars that bought the politicians that enacted obscenities like DMCA passed and worse legislation to follow.

    • Funny. I thought der Fuhr---er, I mean, John Ashcroft was a Republican.

      --Blair
      • Fritz "Hollywood" Hollings is a Democrat. Feinstein of anti-gun and pro-Internet censorship infamy is a Democrat.

        The only political party with a good record on freedom/personal liberty issues at the national level is the Libertarian Party.

        • But the libertarians have never satisfactorily answered what they'd do when their ethos results in a 9600% increase in crime. Other than maybe repealing all laws that are broken regularly on the premise that if enough people are breaking them it must be a matter of freedom of choice.
          • Never said I was a Libertarian. In fact, I did a bit of Libertarian-bashing in passing a few days ago.

            While I wholly agree with the "no censorship" and "eliminate victimless crime laws" part of their political agenda... and I think that their definition of taxes is useful... I don't regard what they've got as a substitute for either a religion or ideology.

            With respect to victimless crimes... marijuana has been decriminalized and enforcement of other drug laws is minimal and uses a medical model, not an enforcement model. Instead of an increase in other kinds of crimes, the Dutch get safe streets. Prostitution is legal in defined areas in large parts of Europe... and in Nevada. Where are the problems? I can speak about Holland directly because I've been there and seen this work in person.

            Speaking as someone whose Net experience started in 1991, the place worked better before idiots tried censoring it.

            Crime drops in US areas where concealed weapons permits are easy for non-criminals to get. somewhere on my personal site [ecis.com]

            The burden of proof for the idea that if personal freedom is legalized, other kinds of crime will increase drastically, has necessarily to be on the head of the person who asserts it. Extraordinary statements require extraordinary proof.

            So far the evidence is... freedom works, d00d.

  • Basic Problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SJ (13711) on Friday June 21, 2002 @11:15PM (#3747830)
    I haven't seen the movie yet, but from the look of the trailers, there is a basic flaw in the concept.

    1. The legal system works on the principle that we have a choice in what we do. You choose to do bad things, you get punished.

    2. MR shows Tom seeing things before they happen and subsequently arresting people for a "crime they are yet to commit."

    3. This means that Fate no longer exists and that we live in a determinist world. Thus, someone who committed a crime had no say in the matter. It was going to happen no matter what the "criminal" did. To convict someone of murder, you have to prove intent.

    So unless there is some explaining in the movie on why Tom arrests people for doing something they had no say in, I can't see how the movie can be plausible.
    • I haven't seen the film yet, but I think this issue could be addressed by claiming that the precogs can only witness future situations wherein the killer has already made his decision to commit murder. So, the order of events would always be: Joe decides to kill Jane, precog sees Joe kill Jane, Joe kills Jane.

      Now you will say, "But Cruise's character is accused of murdering a man he's never met, so, if precognition works the way you suggest, his agency's claim that he will murder that person would be unsupportable." OK, but consider that the sort of "decision" I have in mind might be made very indirectly.

      For example, maybe Jane is black and Joe decided consciously 5 years ago to become a skinhead, and its in his nature that if he goes that far, that he will always end up killing Jane or someone sufficiently like Jane in a sufficiently similar situation, if he ever encounters it. By this logic, Joe does possess free will, the precog's precognition ability doesn't interfere with it, and the critical decision points could be many years past, giving the precog plenty of time to predict typical murders.

      You might claim that Joe doesn't have free choice after he's made his decision, and part of having free choice is the ability to always change your mind. I can't argue against that, except to say that if every person can always change their mind at any point after a decision, then there seems to be no role for people's nature or nurture in their decision-making process, and so individuality disappears.

      You might also argue that if Joe doesn't have free choice after he makes his initial decision, then convicting him for murder would be unjust. But I could counter that by claiming that Joe should have been more self-aware when he decided to become a skinhead, and realized what the consequences would be, that he might be unable to stop himself from killing Jane (or someone like her) in the future. Then, perhaps, the court is convicting him for being stupid or ignorant, which is a bit unsavory, but probably not unjust by many standards. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse", etc. I think there are limits to how much leeway a judge will give for stupidity; the important issue is knowing the difference between right and wrong, and Joe can probably know that, both when he makes his decision and when he kills Jane.

  • These ideas aren't really that orginal, after all speilberg is just turning them into movies. The real genius are the writes who wrote the orginal books, like Bradbury and P.K. Dick...

    You want to read about some really fucked up paranoia and craziness read some P.K. Dick sometimes (basis of minorty report?), also wrote 'do androids dream of electric sheep?' or also know in the movies as 'Blade Runner'. His works have stood the test of time, just like J.R.R Tolken.. after all great writes have already created the entire universe for a movie, and it's almost impossible to screw up great works when turning them into a movie. For how many of you, did Lord of the Rings seem to be 'exactly' the way you envisioned it when reading the book?? I know for myself it was almost bang on the images that I had in my head.

    Good artists create, great artist steal.....

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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