State Police Using Matrix
Critics say that the multi-state antiterrorism database known as the Matrix has too much sensitive information and is too much like Big Brother, and a number of states have withdrawn from the database due to privacy issues and cost.
Connecticut law enforcement officials, on the other hand, are already using the federally funded system, which lets them cross-check restricted police files against other public and commercial data. Participating states include their records, such as those related to criminals and motor vehicles.
Supporters say that the information is already available and that the Matrix only makes it easier to put together. “By bringing all this detailed information into one system, it streamlines the investigatory process,” says Connecticut Sgt. J. Paul Vance.
Privacy advocates are also concerned that private for-profit company Seisint compiles and houses the database, though it is supervised by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The system is designed to find possible terrorists, but most states are using it for other crimes as well; those who have pulled out are concerned either about privacy, or the cost once the federal funding runs out.
The American Civil Liberties Union is lobbying against Matrix, with civil liberties advocates saying it seems designed to get around federal privacy rules.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Hartford Courant (01/23/04) P. A1; Chedekel, Lisa.