“Mirror’s Edge and Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst present a troublingly possible vision for the future. The world DICE crafted represents the logical conclusion of surveillance, political suppression and police brutality taken to their extremes, all in the name of safety and security. The seeds of their world are present and growing in ours today. The Snowden leaks, increasing voter suppression and widespread violence by police officers make it clear that The City of Glass isn’t as science fiction as it may seem.
“It’s hard to find ways to communicate these days without half the world listening in,” Faith’s friend Birdman says to her early on in Catalyst, but it could have just as easily been said about today. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst’s City of Glass is blanketed in security cameras that regularly scan citizens to ensure they are following the letter of the oppressive law. Anytime Faith approaches one, it will scan her and alert authorities, who come running, armed to the teeth. Billboards across Glass display the image of a Robocop-esque masked officer with the words “We Are Watching” blazoned across.
The U.S. is more secretive about its surveillance than Glass, but it is becoming more and more insidious. Snowden’s leaks made it painfully clear that the U.S. government spied on millions of citizens through the mass collection of phone records for years. The 2015 USA Freedom Act rolled back the NSA’s ability to collect everyone’s phone records; however, this by no means prevents future Congresses or Presidents from removing the law or finding workarounds.
It also doesn’t address one of the baseline problems: the growing power of the executive branch and its ability to keep secrets like these from Congress and the American people…”