The Matrix has You ... and Your Privacy

It seems the Matrix is causing some stir in Michigan, where citizens are being warned about a database called the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Informational Exchange, or MATRIX for short. It's original intent was to sniff out potential terrorists, however, according to the article, "In order to participate in Matrix Michigan law enforcement is required to provide five data sets: including their sex offender registry; Department of Corrections data; criminal history records; driver license information; and registered vehicle records. Publicly available databases such as Accurint, Choicepoint and Lexis/Nexis are also included, as are FAA records, boat and merchant vessel registration records, real estate records, directories of telephone numbers, watch lists of federal terrorists, bankruptcy filings and state-issued professional licenses. Strangely to some, it does not include permits to carry concealed weapons." Read More.


This is just more library Luddism. To begin with, MATRIX is not a "database." It allows law enforcement to search multiple databases to which they already have access.

Heather Mac Donald explains in City Journal: "The databases MATRIX uses contain only information that law enforcement can routinely access: its own records on suspects, convicts, and sexual offenders, as well as publicly available information from county courthouses, telephone directories, and business filings, which have been compiled by Florida-based data aggregator Seisint. MATRIX users must be specifically authorized police personnel, who may enter the system only for ongoing criminal or terror investigations. Searches are recorded for auditing against abuse."

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