Everyone at Defense Tech HQ did a little hat dance after we heard about the demise of MATRIX, the far-flung, state-run, terrorist-profiling database. But it looks like we danced too soon.Officials in Florida -- who helped run the original data-mining effort -- have put out a call for information for MATRIX II, Defense Tech pal Ryan Singel reports in today's Wired News. And the sequel looks even more invasive than the original Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange.That system "allowed law enforcement to search a centralized database populated with records collected by states -- including criminal history, driver's license photos, property deeds and fishing licenses -- and billions of commercial data records," Ryan writes. To that, MATRIX II's architects would like to see insurance and financial information added.That's a giant red flag, Ryan notes.
Though scores of companies sell data-mining and searching technology, only ChoicePoint, currently under media and government scrutiny for allowing identity thieves to harvest hundreds of thousands of records on Americans, has search technology and centralized insurance claim information.Supposedly, Florida officials need all this information to fight terror. But of the 1,866,202 original MATRIX searches between July 2003 and April 2005, "less than 3 percent were related to terrorism investigations," Ryan says.Kinda makes you wonder what they'll do if MATRIX II ever gets off the ground.