Apr. 18, 2005 – A controversial database program used by law enforcement in a handful of states is partially shutting down due to lack of funding. The Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX), a privately owned database funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security, had upset civil libertarians for the unprecedented amount of personal information gathered and exchanged by the program.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), a member of the MATRIX project and the agency responsible for securing the database, announced Friday the pilot program was ending because its grant from the DHS had run out. FDLE said that Florida would continue to use components of the database and that other states could do the same if they provide their own funding. Due to privacy concerns and cost, most of the thirteen states that first participated in MATRIX withdrew from the program, leaving only four.
Information included in MATRIX, gathered from public and private sources, includes individuals current and past addresses and phone numbers, arrest records, real estate information, photographs of neighbors and business associates, car make, model and color, marriage and divorce records and voter registration records, hunting and fishing licenses.