Utah Quits MATRIX

by TChris

Utah has joined the growing list of states that are dropping out of the Multistate Antiterrorism Information Exchange, or MATRIX. TalkLeft's background information about the crime-fighting database can be found here.

Gov. Olene Walker recognized that law enforcement agencies have a legitimate need to share information, but not at the expense of equally legitimate interests in protecting privacy.

Walker's announcement comes a day after a panel that she appointed to review the MATRIX recommended steering clear of the pilot crime-fighting network until "adequate oversight" is established to assure that the billions of public and private records it collects on citizens aren't misused. The panel also suggested that the Legislature decide what shape oversight should take.

Only five of the original thirteen partner states remain in the MATRIX program. Those that have abandoned the program share concerns about its potential for abuse.

©ivil libertarians and those opposed to big government fear the breadth of data stored in the MATRIX will allow law enforcement to spy on law abiding citizens. Its data mining capabilities, for example, would allow police to create lists of people who fit criminal profiles based on their ethnicity, address or credit history.

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