ACLU Sues to Block Michigan Cops From Participating in Matrix database

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit seeking to block the Michigan State Police from participating in the Matrix multistate crime and terrorism database.

Matrix, short for Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, combines state vehicle and crime records with commercial databases owned by a private company, Seisint Inc. It gives investigators quick access to billions of pieces of information on potential suspects.

Officials recently said the Matrix format was going to being changed, however, in hopes of allaying privacy and legal concerns that led several states to drop out of the federally funded project.

The pilot project originally was to include 13 states, covering half the U.S. population. The remaining Matrix states, including Michigan, were to try a method in which each state will maintain its own records. Read More.


There needs to be a balance between the obligation of the state to protect its citizens and individual privacy concerns.

There are times, such as during war, when the balance may shift somewhat towards the state's obligation to protect. I think we are living in such times.

Terrorists often escape detection because they move from state to state. Other criminals may do the same. This has put many in danger. Imagine someone being hired to work with children who is a convicted pedophile but in another state. Imagine someone being released from police custody because they are unaware that in another jurisdiction there is an outstanding warrant for their arrest on similar charges.