One Sign the “Minority Report” Future is Coming: Spam

As the "Minority Report" sees its Blu-ray release, it's time to take stock of the futuristic view presented by the groundbreaking 2002 film -- and to give us one more reason to hate spam.

The Steven Spielberg-directed movie was set in 2054. And while we haven't come close to the technology for pre-crime solving that's central in the film, the exploiting of private information that is depicted has definitely advanced, according to John Underkoffler, a futurist adviser on the film.

Underkoffler points out the scene where Tom Cruise's character John Anderton is on the run from the police and innocently enters the subway where his iris is scanned for the fare.

"Data that was collected for one purpose, to bill John Anderton to ride the subway, leaped across the divide and was in the employ of a government agency."

Indeed,  the private information used by the government in the film was collected by existing systems of convenience (the subway fare) or advertisers directly marketing to an individual's need through iris scans.

Yet it ended up in the government hands.

Underkoffler says we are seeing this potential loss of privacy on websites.

"The very blunt and irritating end of that stick is spam. You subscribe to something and arguably unscrupulous website owners sell your email address to people that really shouldn't have it."

Highlighting these potential situations is just one reason Underkoffler is "thankful to the movie."

"It asked a lot of these questions out in the open as part of the story telling process in a way that we as as society should be doing, but aren't."

"A lot of that stuff is way closer than we would like."

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