The current scandal over the breathtaking scope of the National Security Agency's electronic surveillance efforts was presaged in the final two episodes of season 4 ("The House on Willis Avenue"), the villain of which was an extremely extralegal corporation building a huge (for 1978) computer surveillance system for gathering, analyzing, and selling sensitive personal data on every person. The closing credits ended with the following warning (attributed to "Member, U.S. Privacy Protection Commission"):
Secret information centers, building dossiers on individuals exist today. You have no legal right to know about them, prevent them, or sue for damages. Our liberty may well be the price we pay for permitting this to continue unchecked.
History repeats. Is anything learned? One truth abides: The Rockford Files was way ahead of its time.