"MATRIX" UNLOADED

Score one for the good guys. A project to find enemies of the state in the credit card records, marriage licenses, and vehicle registration data of avergage citizens appears to be over.carrieanne.jpgAt one time, at least a dozen states had jacked into the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, or MATRIX. Dozens more were considering participation in the four billion-record database. But then came the howls from privacy advocates. And the revelations that MATRIX's founder had been linked to Bahamian drug smugglers in the '80s.In the end, only Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Connecticut were left. And now that $12 million in federal grant money has run out, it seems unlikely that these states will continue with the project.This may be the biggest victory for privacy since we and our allies from across the political spectrum shut down Total Information Awareness, the ACLU's Barry Steinhardt said in a statement, referring to a similarly Owrellian Pentagon program shuttered by Congress in 2003.

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