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MATRIX - A Dossier for Every Person in Utah 650

jxs2151 writes: "According to the Deseret Morning News former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt signed Utah's 2.4 million residents up for a pilot program that gathers dossiers on every single man, woman and child and didn't bother to tell anyone. According to the article MATRIX -- Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange '...cross-references government records from both public and private databases, putting together a dossier on individuals for use by law enforcement.' The state's homeland security specialist dismisses concerns: '...any data gleaned for Utah's participation in MATRIX is information already available to law enforcement.' The Utah legislature is trying to figure out how to get the state out of the program but the question is how was the Governor able to enroll the -whole state- without anyone knowing?"
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MATRIX - A Dossier for Every Person in Utah

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  • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:20PM (#8146933)
    Pretty please?
  • by MisterFancypants ( 615129 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:20PM (#8146934)
    Considering all the multi-marriage mormons in Utah, they're gonna have their hands full on the database design for this thing.

    • I sure hope it's relational. If it's anything like the damn database I'm working with now the Spouse table would contain fields:


    • by btakita ( 620031 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:33PM (#8147033) Homepage
      The Mormons have a good genealogy record database in place.

      In fact, I wonder if Utah uses the Mormon's database to track who lives there.
    • by queen of everything ( 695105 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:41PM (#8147084) Homepage

      Despite what you all think, the mormon religion does not condone plural marriage. If you take part in a plural marriage, you are excommunicated. That comment merely shows your ignorance and is not really funny at all.

      • OK people, if you're going to whine about someone else being wrong, then you should at least try to be accurate yourself.

        Despite what you all think, the mormon religion does not condone plural marriage any longer.

        That is , originally it was encouraged. Don't believe me, checkout The LDS/Mormon webpages on the subject []
        • He did a little too much LDS at Berkeley in the 60's.
        • Gee...
          Why is it that anytime a posted article that contains the word Utah or SCO or Novell people automatically assume the Mormons are behind it. Sure, some Mormon folk may be working at these places, but I am sick of people bashing the LDS Church anytime the state of Utah is mentioned or implied in an article.

          It's all a big waste of time (like this post, too).

          The article is about something serious. A supposedly Republican/Conservative governor signed my entire state up for this MATRIX thing... I am non
      • Well, now, doesn't that depend on which branch of the Mormon church you happen to follow? As memory serves, there at least 3 or 4 branches, and only one of them has actually condemned polygamy (the more famous, known as the Church of Latter Day Saints being the one that has). In fact, as I recall, the Orthodox branch believes that polygamy is moral (and practices it), as does the Reformed branch. Or am I completely misremembering the various branches?

        And, as a side note, isn't it most interesting how the Pr

  • Thats it... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Where's my Tin foil???
  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:21PM (#8146943) Homepage Journal
    in the name of 'protecting freedom'
    terrorism wins
    • by figjamjam ( 121274 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:26PM (#8146989) Homepage
      The old saying goes, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance"

      So you need to be eternally vigilant against people wanting to taking away your freedom, ie YOUR GOVERNMENT.
      Not some dirty old camel fscker hiding in a cave, cause all he wants to do is kill you.

    • i use my voting power to vote people out .. It seems i'll have to use my power yet again.
      • by Selecter ( 677480 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:42PM (#8147096)
        Yes, voting. That will work wonders. You realistically have the choice of poeple who voted and/or supported the Patriot Act (Kerry, Dean, Edwards, Leiberman, i.e. the entire Democratic field) *OR* the guy that actually signed the shit into law, Mr. G.W. Bush. Whutta choice. :/

        Meanwhile, all the poeple running for President that are against the Patriot Act and PA II have dropped out of the race, or can't sell their souls to the devil to call themselves Republicans or Democrats, and therefore have zero chance of becoming President.

        Yes, being allowed to vote surely gives one more freedom to vote for the government of your choice. As long as they support the NEW WORLD ORDER, you can pick any of them you like.

        • by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @09:09PM (#8147260)
          Yes, voting. That will work wonders. You realistically have the choice of poeple who voted and/or supported the Patriot Act (Kerry, Dean, Edwards, Leiberman, i.e. the entire Democratic field) *OR* the guy that actually signed the shit into law, Mr. G.W. Bush. Whutta choice. :/

          Most of the Democratic candidates have [] spoken [] out [] vocally against extending the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act. To contrast, George W. Bush recently advocated [] not only extending, but expanding the damn thing-- in his State of the Union speech, no less. (The applause you heard when he said "the PATRIOT act is due to expire soon" was not coming from the pro-Bush side of the room.)

          If you believe there is no significant difference between the candidates on this issue, you're just plain nuts. I'm sorry your favorite candidate isn't in the race anymore, but if you keep equivocating and misrepresenting the situation, you're only going to be rewarded with PATRIOT Acts II, III, IV and V.

        • by 7-Vodka ( 195504 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @09:10PM (#8147263) Journal
          Dean never supported the patriot act, he is VEHEMENTLY opposed to it. Neither did some of the other candidates. Yes unfortunately kerry is the kind of BS artist that populates washington D.C. and looks like he's going to win, but don't group them all together.
          • Yes unfortunately kerry is the kind of BS artist that populates washington D.C. and looks like he's going to win, but don't group them all together.

            Don't forget Kerry is a skull and bones man just like the traitor Bush. Don't expect anytyhing positive if he wins.

        • This makes me think of the democratic nominees in 1992. There was 6 major ones(over ~1% support), but the media didn't report one, Larry Agron(sp?); his platform was that the defense budget should be cut in half(holy shit that's a lot of money) and be put into education(you'd have the fucking smartest people ever; well, assuming you spent right). At one point I think he was even in 3rd?(maybe 4th) place in some polls. But the press was just like "we don't cover people who don't have a certain level cover
        • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @10:14PM (#8147619) Homepage Journal
          Is this flamebait, or are you stup^H..Ignorant?

          Realy, getting invlved does help. Vote, Write, Orginize.
          The group wit the most motivated supporters wins. I've seen too may politicians vote against large campaign contributors to believe there all bad.

          Disagree? fine. All I can say is I get involved in issue that are important to me. I can name my representitives off the top of my head and get personal emails. Along with there regular stadard emails.

          So, you can take that NEW WORLD ORDER defeatism and stick it. I'm doing what all true patriots are doing, standing up for what is right and getting involved.

  • by egg troll ( 515396 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:22PM (#8146953) Homepage Journal
    Jeez...could they have picked a worse name to have sent the geeks into overdrive than Matrix?
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:23PM (#8146962) Homepage Journal
    So, this has really kinda raised a stink here in Utah, and despite the states Homeland Security specialist stating that all of the information is already available to law enforcement, one issue is that all of this information is not currently available in one place and that many simply object to government accumulating so much personal information. The other issue is that the problem with databases is that once they are created, they really cannot be destroyed. The information in them tends to propagate into other projects or products and is also often used for generation of revenues by selling information to certain corporations.

    For instance, from the article: Searchable databases allow law enforcement agents to probe for people using Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, property records, motor vehicle information and credit history. The information is collected by states and forwarded to a database in Florida, where a private company, Seisint Inc., builds and manages the database.

    The fact that credit history is included and is documented along with these other aspects of identity and is run and managed by a private company is disturbing leading me to wonder what connections Gov. Leavitt might have with this company.

    Finally, as noted in the article our current Gov., Olene Walker (she was Gov. Leavitt's assistant governor before he headed off to become a Bush appointee to head the Environmental Protection Agency), apparently knew absolutely nothing about the project. As governor, Leavitt should have been representing the people of Utah, but what is it that he has done here?

    • In typical Utah Republican fashion, Leavitt has screwed us. First the Legacy Highway, then the matrix, now he's a cronie for the EPA. If i were the current Gov'na, i wouldn't run for the office either: too much crap to clean up after.

      Let the other mindless Church-drones deal with it ( by carrying on his legacy of course).
  • Private company? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) * <> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:23PM (#8146970) Homepage Journal
    The information is collected by states and forwarded to a database in Florida, where a private company, Seisint Inc., builds and manages the database.

    So what's to prevent this company from selling the information to the highest bidder? Glad I don't live in Utah...
    • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) * <> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:31PM (#8147017) Homepage

      What makes you so sure that your governor hasn't done exactly the same thing? It sounds as though the people in Utah only found out about their being entered in the program because they got a new governor. It was a big surprise even to other people in the state government. If that can happen in Utah, it can happen in your state or mine. People in other parts of the country may well have had their information in the same program and simply not know about it because their governments haven't let the cat out of the bag yet. That's the truly scary implication of the situation.

    • by kaltkalt ( 620110 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:31PM (#8147022)
      Hasn't everyone always been glad they don't live in utah?
    • Re:Private company? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by diersing ( 679767 )
      Utah merely consolidated and forwarded ALL public (along with those private ones Law Enforcement had) records on to them. That doesn't mean your local law enforcement, DMV, Social Security office, pension management, etc isn't already doing the same. This Seisint Inc does quite a bit (and more then just Law Enforcement) database management.

      Just because you don't live in Utah doesn't mean you don't have something with them. I know my mortgage company holds some database or another with them.

      I would th

    • Re:Private company? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ttyp0 ( 33384 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @11:07PM (#8147880) Homepage
      They already do sell the information [], at $0.25 a search! How it's legal, I have no idea.
  • Acronym (Score:5, Informative)

    by apoplectic ( 711437 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:25PM (#8146981)
    I've seen casual acronyms before, but this is getting silly: Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange as MATRIX? You mean MATIE? As in a little girl? Certainly not as cool as MATRIX...
    • Strange choice, too. Calls to mind this cartoon [], to say nothing of the symbolism inherent in the Matrix trilogy. Why do they want to voulentarily attract such negative associations?
  • by Unominous Coward ( 651680 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:28PM (#8147000)
    is somebody going to attach a turbine to George Orwell?

    Just think of all the nuclear power stations that could be decommissioned as a result
  • Matrix in Georgia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:29PM (#8147008)
    This just hit the news here in GA as well.

    Here, it is the reverse situation. The governor (Sonny Perdue) has now ordered the state twice to *stop* participating in the Matrix program. The first order was ignored. I wonder if the second will go un-heeded as well?
  • how was the Governor able to enroll the -whole state- without anyone knowing?

    Maybe he used to work for a cable company.
  • Related Links (Score:5, Informative)

    by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:32PM (#8147029) Homepage Journal
  • by homer_ca ( 144738 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:32PM (#8147032)
    "the question is how was the Governor able to enroll the -whole state- without anyone knowing?"

    Easy, because the data was being collected in the first place. The whole system of legal protection of privacy (i.e. laws that say you're not allowed to use this data for this purpose) breaks down when the trusted custodians of data shits all over the public's trust. The only way to ensure privacy is to not collect the data in the first place. Not that that's ever going to happen.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @10:23PM (#8147670) Homepage Journal
      well, certian key unique identifiers will be needed from time to time, what they are could vary from need.

      This is coming. what we need is a method to slap companies who sell or give data to any other company. We also need Law enforcement to need a signed court order, for specific individuals.

      Thats where the fight should be, on how this data is handled, and on signifigant retribution to those who sell it.
      For example, it it is a corporation, pull there corp. charter.
      Private company, dved 75% of there assets equally among all the people on the lise.
      Politician? removal from office. 3 years prison
  • Utah is now home of SCO, mormons, and now citizen dossiers. Why would anyone live there?
  • Facts? (Score:5, Informative)

    by bryanthompson ( 627923 ) <logansbro@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:35PM (#8147043) Homepage Journal
    Just in case anyone wants to actually read what it's about before going off the deep end, they have a site: []

    [quote]The MATRIX project is implementing factual data analysis from existing data sources to integrate disparate data from many types of Web-enabled storage systems to identify, develop, and analyze terrorist activity and other crimes for investigative leads. This capability will facilitate integration and exchange of information within the participating states, including criminal history, driver license data, vehicle registration records, and incarceration/corrections records including digitized photographs, with significant amounts of public data record entries. Provision has been made for the inclusion of data sources from additional states, should expansion be authorized. The use of factual data analysis from existing data sources will save countless investigative hours and significantly improve the opportunity for successful conclusion of investigations.

    Data Security Information submitted by a state may only be disseminated in accordance with restrictions and conditions placed on it by the submitting state, pursuant to the submitting state's laws and regulations. Information will be made available only to law enforcement agencies, and on a need-to-know and right-to-know basis. Data access permissions will be conditioned on the privileges of the user making the inquiry.[/quote]
    • Re:Facts? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @09:36PM (#8147389)
      This kills me. The vast majority of this information has been readily available to practically anyone for ages. Twenty years ago my family ran a company that did skip tracing as part of our service, so we operated under a private investigation license which gave us access to a number of _commercial_ databases. Almost every piece of information under discussion was available from all but a few states from a single source (at that time our primary source was CDB/Infotek). I routinely would cross-reference registered property (homes, cars, airplanes, boats), voter registration address lists, social security records, whatever. It would take on average about fifteen minutes to find anyone sans tinfoil hat with the tiniest shred of information. The key here is that every piece of information is about two degrees of separation from a SSN. Once you have the SSN, you can find everything else in a massive, combined (and expensive) search that would cross-reference everything from Maine to Hawaii including your magazine subscriptions.

      That was twenty years ago.

      This information has been there for decades. That it is two ergs easier to do today and includes all the backwater states that used mimeographs until the 90's is pretty trivial.
    • by smiff ( 578693 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @09:39PM (#8147413)
      A huge database like this won't help the police find criminals, but will help them find scapegoats. Consider this: someone goes to FBI headquarters and plants a bomb made of 2" lead pipe, 6-penny nails, and blue PVC wire sold only through Home Depot. So the FBI go to Home Depot and gets a list of everyone who purchased all three items. From this list of 60 people, they filter out everyone with an alibi, narrowing the list to 40 people. Then they visit all 40 people and pick their top five suspects. They then pick the person with a prior conviction of vandalizing a police car.

      The public will look at the evidence and proclaim the suspect guilty. The jury will look at the evidence and declare the suspect guilty. Then they'll congradulate the FBI on a job well done. All the while, the real culprit sits back and laughs since he stole the supplies from someone who bought them with cash. He didn't show as a suspect at all.

      People look at the fouth amendment and assume it's there to keep the authorities from annoying you. They think it's okay for the authorities to run a search as long as the person being searched doesn't know about it. The thing is, the more people the authorities investigate, the more likely they are to turn up false positives. That may work wonders in picking out a scapegoat, but it won't help find the real criminal if the real criminal took even minimal precautions to stay off the list. The fourth amendment is supposed to do more than protect people from annoying searches. It is there to make sure the authorities do their job right.

  • ...that there are no national ID numbers, right ? Without them it's impossible to track people, or something.
  • MATRIX (Score:3, Funny)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <slashdot3&phroggy,com> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:35PM (#8147049) Homepage
    Is it anything like SCMODS?
  • one of 13 states? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mateomiguel ( 614660 ) <.matt_the_grad. .at.> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:37PM (#8147056)
    What I'm most concerned about right now is WHICH ARE THE OTHER TWELVE STATES?
  • by Crypto Gnome ( 651401 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @08:49PM (#8147135) Homepage Journal
    The information is collected by states and forwarded to a database in Florida, where a private company, Seisint Inc., builds and manages the database.

    Now that we know that Seisint [] is compiling a database of all relevant information on *everyone* living in Utah, how long do we think it'll be before one of the many hackers/crackers (possibly sponsored by organized crime, then again equally likely to be doing it just for the kudos) breaks through their corporate security (cough smoke-and-mirrors, if they're like most other companies) and steals the identity of an entire state at once?

    Of course " Utah was one of 13 states that hopped on board the pilot program last June -- funded with $12 million in federal grants. But since then, several states have pulled out of the project, citing privacy and financial concerns."

    So we're not even talking about just one single state !

    C'mon people - fame and fortune, kudos from the slashdot crowd, and your very own entry in the Guinness Book of Records.

    I can just see it now Worlds Largest Simultaneous Identity Theft
  • by noahmax ( 534339 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @09:03PM (#8147229) Homepage
    It's worse than you think. Seisint, the company behind Matrix, was founded by a guy who was implicated in a Bahamian drug smuggling ring back in the 80's [].
  • As a Utah resident (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hendersj ( 720767 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @09:18PM (#8147302)

    I have to say that I am absolutely outraged at what Gov. Leavitt has apparently done. I wasn't particularly happy with him over his stand on allowing the storage of nuclear waste in our state (something that apparently was a qualification for head of the Environmental Protection Agency).

    IANAL, so I wonder - would something like this be grounds for some sort of class action lawsuit?

    If it is, count me in.

    It amazes me the things we in the US allow our government to do to us in the name of security:

    • The USA PATRIOT Act
    • MATRIX
    • And the proposed Patriot II Act

    If we the government keeps getting away with passing legislation like this, the terrorists win, and the government *becomes* the terrorists.

  • by CleverNickName ( 129189 ) * <> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @10:07PM (#8147582) Homepage Journal
    Utah built a thing called MATRIX

    They promise that they won't abuse it
  • Echoes of the past (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug@ge e k a z o> on Saturday January 31, 2004 @10:14PM (#8147618) Homepage
    I can just hear my dad saying, when I vented my teenage gripes about our government, "If you don't like it here why don't you go live in Russia?"

    I never wanted to live in Russia. I just wanted America to be the place it's supposed to be. I want American freedom to mean more than the freedom to continue shopping while our trusted leaders take care of everything.
  • by qtp ( 461286 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @10:42PM (#8147758) Journal
    As mentioned in my rejected story sub from last week, several other states are already participating in MATRIX.

    For more information, you can look at the MATRIX homepage [], listen to an NPR program [], read some newspaper [ttp] columns [], a findlaw article [], and a politechbot writup [].

    The list of participating states can be found here [].

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @11:11PM (#8147896) Homepage Journal
    MATRIX is the product of the drug-running covert actors who brought us the Iran-Contra connection. Seisint is the data warehouse in Florida for these Matrix apps [], started by Hank Asher. He also founded DataBase Technologies, which purged the 2000 Presidential election rolls of 57,000 voters, 95% in error, the majority of them Democrats []. Prior to that, Asher flew drugs off Florida through the Bahamas for Iran-Contra []. His boss was John Poindexter, director of the "doomed" federal TIA, the mother of all Matrices. A French webpage [] has the Seisint/DBT (translated to English) [] connection: Hank Asher. For extra points, Diebold's eVoting division has been run by another convicted Iran-Contra cocaine dealer [].

    Now the Matrix, after being rejected by Georgia for its unwarranted invasions of privacy [], is making the rounds of the rest of the states which owe Bush Jr favors. Idaho governor Leavitt succeeds Governor Kempthorne, just named the previous Idaho governor, to head the EPA [], as it abandons the penalty financing of SuperFund. Check your own state government [] for the favors it owes Bush Corp., before they sell you to the Bush cronies. Drug dealers, vote fixers, Big Brothers: these are the people we have given the power of the US government. Take a stand now, before you have nothing left to defend.
    • OK. I'm disturbed.

      I grew up in the land of the free, home of the brave. I don't know how much of the world has changed in my lifetime, but my perspective has changed dramatically.

      Every day on the radio, I listen to people arguing to keep immigrant kids out of schools. I hear about civil rights being stripped, reorganized, recategorized, and minimized on a daily basis.

      Quite frankly, I am beginning to see the US becoming so much like Nazi germany that I'm afraid of what the next decade will bring.

      We ar
    • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @02:06AM (#8148884)
      This is a great post. If so then it appears:

      - Poindexter, when he was part of the DOD and DARPA, devises Total Information Awareness, which will collect vast amounts of data on everyone and then use data mining to spot terrorists, or maybe just to spy on everyone.

      - In parallel Florida, presumably led by Jeb Bush, starts funding MATRIX to do pretty much the same thing though its less ambitious. Ironicly MATRIX is devised by a suspected drug smuggler and the person that helped rig the Florida election by disenfranchising black voters.

      - Congress is enraged when TIA becomes public and kills it.

      - The DOD changes the name to Terrorist Information Awareness

      - As nearly as I can tell Congress is allowing Terrorist Information Awareness to continue but under severe restraints: m

      In particular TIA is allowed to use only these two kinds of data:

      (a) foreign intelligence and counter intelligence information legally obtained and usable by the Federal Government under existing law

      (b) wholly synthetic (artificial) data that has been generated, for research purposes only, to resemble and model real-world patterns of behavior.

      It appears Congress must have forbidden using real data on American citizens.

      Meanwhile MATRIX is doing basicly the thing Congress forbad TIA from doing. MATRIX was state funded but now the DOJ and Homeland Security are chipping in $12 million.

      You have to wonder if Congress realizes what kind of suckers they've been played for.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @11:16PM (#8147929) Homepage
    Seisint offers this database as a commercial service, Accurint [], for the low, low price of $0.50 to $4.50 per query. [] Sign up now for your one week free trial [] by calling 1-800-332-8244. No signup fees. No monthly minimums. See the impressive Accurint commercial (click on the quarter) []. "You won't believe what you can find with a quarter."

    The $4.50 "Comprehensive Report" includes "Address Summary, Others using SSN, Date/Locations where SSN Issued, Census Data, Bankruptcy Indicator, Property Indicator and Corporate Affiliations Indicator, Bankruptcy, UCC Filings, Corporate Affiliations, Driver's Licenses, Vehicle Registrations, Property, Merchant Vessels, FAA Pilots, FAA Aircraft, Professional Licenses, Florida Accidents, Voter Registration, Hunting/Fishing Permits, Concealed Weapons Permits, Associates, Relatives (3 Degrees), Neighbors, Criminal Convictions and Sexual Offenders." More advanced searches include arrest data, gun licenses, property ownership, Internet domain name ownership, and a "Patriot Act Search".

    Order now, and get the facts on anyone.

    Much of this information has been available for some time, but never before has it beeen assembled into one convenient package available to anyone at a low price. See product reviews [], including "You can't hide from Accurint" and "No Place to Hide".

    Now with XML support, a batch interface for bulk users, and 24 hour tech support!

    If you have a problem with that, tough.

  • by Julian Morrison ( 5575 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @11:23PM (#8147978)
    ...because we already have in our official capacity snooped all that information seperately". So the fact that the USA already was a piecemeal police state, is the justification for making it a unified and offical one?

    There is no longer any law, just legislation. There is no longer any law-enforcement - just enforcement. It is no longer possible to be a policeman, and also a good man. The law does not recognise rights; so, rights do not recognise the law. I hereby declare anarchy!
  • by Evets ( 629327 ) on Saturday January 31, 2004 @11:28PM (#8148005) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone see any similarities between the War On Drugs, the War on Terrorism, and the War on Communism?

    We're going to spend hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, piss off the world as a whole, lose our civil rights, and many of us will lose our inalienable rights.

    In the end nothing will have been accomplished but a short period of country-wide unity and a temporary popularity surge for a national leader who really does not deserve it.
  • by macjohn ( 185795 ) <> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @12:12AM (#8148283) Homepage
    OK, so there's a big database. As many have already pointed out, databases already exist. Trying to stamp out databases of personal information has about as much hope as outlawing pot and sharing music. Waste of time.

    We need to shift the focus of the debate from whether or not the database exists to how it is used. I think we need a new Bill of Rights to protect us from inaccurate and misused information in ANY database.

    People should be able to sue the hell out of a database provider who distributes inaccurate information, and the responsiblility for accuracy should rest on the provider, not on the poor slob being tracked.

    In fact, maybe there OUGHT to be a government sponsored database, because then there would be a specific place to go check for inaccuracies, instead of trying to guess who's got what on you.

    And there should be severe restrictions on the uses that can be made of the information. I don't care if the government knows I marched against the war, but I damn well don't expect to get my taxes audited as a result. It's way easier to enforce restrictions on the inappropriate use of information than it is on the simple collection of it.

    And anyone using data about me from the database should be liable if they can't prove they're using it on me, not someone else. What if you could sue Macy's for opening a credit account in your name using your credit data if it wasn't really you?

    Government doesn't have to be the enemy. This is a place where the power of government could be used to protect us. Of course, you'd have to have a government that cared.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @12:50AM (#8148489) Homepage
    But John Ashcroft scares me way more than any group of terrorists. Terrorists can knock down buildings and kill people, but it takes the DOJ and Bush administration to undermine the freedoms that thousands have died to protect. And the mentality that even THINKS creating a dossier on every citizen in the state is a good idea is absolutely abominable. I don't care if it's law enforcement or politics, time to get them into a new line of work.

    Leave it to Utah.

  • how ironic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:25AM (#8149655) Homepage
    Does anyone else think the irony of a similarity between The Matrix, a society completely entrapped by the governing powers (machines), and the name of this act (MATRIX), which makes that same entrapment all the more possible seem kind of odd to anyone else? Surely the politicians realized that this would draw a very definite parallel in the minds of most people, particularly those that are fans of the film.

    Maybe they did it to discredit the voices of those that protest the act? "Oh, they're just geeks with a Matrix obsession, and are overreacting because they're all anarchists."

    Otherwise, why else name it MATRIX? You'd think they'd want to avoid anhy sort of association with complete thought control. Right?

    Or is this simply a sign of how incredibly subdued the average citizen is already?
  • Personal Data (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Flavius Stilicho ( 220508 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @10:45AM (#8150493)
    I used to work for an HMO that dealt with mental health records and claims. The information that we had access to is EXACTLY the type of information many corporate and government entities would LOVE to get their hands on. At one point, our company wanted to build a web based app to allow providers (shrinks) enter clinical data to chart progress, among other things. The flip side was that the system allowed 'us' to 'manage care'. I wasn't involved in the project until it was almost in final beta but when I DID get involved, the complete and utter lack of security for the entire system blew my mind. Ultimately, I was successful in having the system redesigned and then scrapped.

    I guess the points I'm making are:
    1. There was a really cool upside to this system. It really could have been a benefit to the doctors and patients in providing them better care. It could, and also would, have been used to deny care to cuts costs.
    2. Corporations generally do not care about data security until the lack of said security jeapordizes their bottom line or places them at legal risk.
    3. If the system ever DID make it into production, the information contained within could have easily been made available to the governement and/or highest bidder -- as is the case with the company running the MATRIX system.
    The way I see it is that the benefits don't outway the risks. Just because we can doesn't mean we should.
  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @12:04PM (#8150971)
    the pledge by congress to keep Census data private and out of the hands of law enforcement officals was any good.

    Then ask youself if The PATRIOT ACT, a law hastily passed by congress and signed by the president BEFORE THE ACT WAS EMBROSSED, will treat all Americans any better than FDR and the FBI treated Japanese American.

    Then think about the RICO law, designed to prevent Mafia gangsters from using their ill-gotten gain to fight prosecution. When it was passed congress promised it would only be used against the Mafia. Now, several decades later, it is used over 10,000 times a year against ordinary citizens. The most common use of RICO today is by local police departments using jail-house snitches as a pretext to steal private property and fence it (sell is what rightful owners do, fence is what thieves do) in order to supplement their budgets and fund purchase of items too costly for local budgets. RICO declares property 'guilty' so even if the owners later prove their innocence or prove a case of mistaken identity, the police can and usually do keep the property.

    When the cops become robbers who can YOU go to for protection?

    When the DOJ sides with the Robber Barrons and the Courts become their hand puppets where can YOU seek judical relief?

    When Congress sells its soul to the highest bidder, repeals the Bill of Rights, sells off trades and patents, votes itself a retirement package equal to its salary and with 100% free health care, and considers the office an inheritable birthright, who do YOU vote for?

    Plainly, WE deserve the corruption WE tolerate.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <<> <ta> <rcj>> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @12:08PM (#8150995) Journal
    ..Under Color of Authority".

    It's good for a ten-year stretch in Leavenworth. Now you just need a prosecutor in Utah with the guts to file the suit in Federal court.

  • Easy (Score:3, Funny)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Monday February 02, 2004 @11:44AM (#8158934) Homepage Journal

    Before everyone gets all up in arms about this as a potential invasion of privacy I should point out that Utah's social homogeneity meant that only 4 actual dossiers had to be assembled -- everyone else's dossier was a symbolic link to one of those 4.