the MATRIX system
A dangerous program – ominously called the Matrix – is being proposed by a handful of states in conjunction with the federal government. Unfortunately it's no Hollywood invention -- this Matrix would compile your personal information into a giant database that law enforcement agents and government contractors can use to search through information about your private life and investigate your activities.
Our elected officials must act to stop this program from being implemented in your state. They also need to ensure that our federal tax dollars will not continue to fund such invasive initiatives.
According to news reports and internal documents, the Matrix (which stands for “Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange”) is an effort to combine state government records, such as driver's license information, with commercially available data to create a vast database capable of compiling and analyzing a profile of every American.
While the private company that runs the program has been very secretive about what data MATRIX contains, government sources report that it includes names and address of family members, property ownership, marine vessels, bankruptcies, liens and judgments, voter registrations, and criminal offender information. However, given the amount of information that is available in today's commercial databases, even more details of your private life might be captured and catalogued. Indeed, the Matrix materials boast of having access to 20 billion records.
Only a handful of states are currently participating in this program. However, its implications are dire and we must ensure that our tax dollars are not being used to fund this dangerous program.
The database will collect and centralize an amazing array of your personal information. News reports indicate that the database would include driver's license photographs, the names and addresses of family members, gun licenses, voter registration, court records and a vast array of other private details. And, just as there are errors in credit reports, this giant database will be compiled with information from a multitude of error-prone sources. Incorrect information could bring you to the attention of the authorities even if you have not done anything wrong.
The program is expensive, soaking up badly needed funds from more worthy causes. At a time when state and federal budgets are facing hard times, there is little justification for spending scarce funds on this spying program. With an unknown total cost, this program diverts funds from more effective anti-terrorism initiatives.
The information will not only be used for fighting terrorism. Contrary to its proponents assertions, internal documents have shown that Matrix will be used for “datamining” of our personal records for law enforcement fishing expeditions. Creating a program to combine separate, independently available databases of information on innocent Americans is not merely a “technological advancement,” but a body blow to the core American principle that the government will leave people alone unless it has good reason to suspect them of wrongdoing.
Source: American Civil Liberties Union