Privacy is a core human right, which allows the human to preserve his/her dignity, independence, and freedom, therefore, is an essential liberty (Privacilla). Benjamin Franklin said in 1759; “They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”, and is correct to have said this. “Enemy of the State” demonstrates the validity of the statement by making three different examples of what can happen if one gives up even a small amount of liberty.
The movie demonstrates how giving up liberty in exchange of temporary security can affect the life of an innocent man, how it can lead to corruption, and how it can even backfire on the conformists of this bill. In the long run, there are no winners when it comes to the public giving up their privacy and trust someone to not misuse the power. In “Enemy of the State”, invasion of privacy ruined the lives of innocent people. One of the people affected by this invasion was Rachel Banks. Ms. Banks is murdered by the National Security Agency (NSA) to try and frame Robert Dean, even though both are innocent.
Another innocent person who has his life destroyed was Daniel Zavitz, a wildlife researcher (IMDb). Mr. Zavitz also loses his life all because one of his hidden cameras, which was designed to monitor geese, recorded a murder done by the NSA. The third innocent person who has their life turned into chaos is Robert Dean. Although Robert Dean doesn’t lose his life like the other two, he still goes through a lot because he has the videotape with the murder, and he doesn’t even know that he does.
All three people go through a lot because each is somehow connected to a murder, and the murderers are invading their privacy to try to prevent the public from finding out about the murder. Giving already-powerful people more power over the public and their privacy is guaranteed to lead to corruption. This is demonstrated in “Enemy of the State” by Thomas Reynolds. Mr. Reynolds invades the private life of Phil Hammersley to try to convince him to support a bill that would let the government invade the privacy of innocent people even easier. When his persuasion fails, Mr. Reynolds resolves to murder.
Because Thomas Reynolds is so powerful, it is easy for him to spy on Mr. Dean even though there is only a slight suspicion that Mr. Dean is involved. Mr. Reynolds uses his power to spy on Dean by tapping his house and clothes, phones, and house, cancelling his credit cards, and installing surveillance equipment in his house without his permission (IMDb). Reynolds also has Rachel Banks killed just to try to frame Dean, and this shows corruption because he feels that he has a lot of power, and thus isn’t afraid that he will get in trouble for conspiring to murder an innocent person.
Because Reynolds has a lot of power, he is corrupted by it and also grows careless with his actions. Although the “watchers of the peace” feel like they can do anything with all of the power that is available to them, they still need to be careful. In the movie, the NSA spy on innocent people with the technology that they have developed specifically for that purpose. Near the end of the movie, Brill uses their own equipment to spy on them, and then blackmails them. Also, the NSA are so used to watching others that they forget that others can also watch them, so they are careless (Ing).
When they are murdering Hammersley, they don’t check the surroundings for cameras that could be recording them, and that becomes their downfall. Lastly, the NSA feel completely secure because of all of their power, so they are reckless to walk into a dark restaurant with a mafia family and don’t feel threatened until they are being shot at. Total power can make even the most disciplined men relaxed and feeling almighty, which is clearly demonstrated in “Enemy of the State”.
The suffering of innocent people, corruption of large authorities, and the arrogance of powerful organisations are three big effects on a society that has given up privacy for some “protection”. These three effects were powerfully demonstrated in the movie called “Enemy of the State”. Benjamin Franklin said “They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”, which is completely true. The results of giving up privacy are very well shown in the movie, and it is obvious that not only do the people not deserve liberty nor safety, but they are almost guaranteed to lose both.
Courtney from Study Moose
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