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[infowar.de] Utah zieht sich aus Überwachungsdatenbank MATRIX zurück
Hier die Kurzfassung von Stern shortnews:
02.02.2004 09:18 Uhr
Utah zieht MATRIX den Stecker raus
Der US-Bundesstaat Utah hat seine Beteiligung an dem bundesweiten
Projekt MATRIX vorerst eingefroren. MATRIX ist die Abkürzung von
'Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange' und soll möglichst alle
Daten aller Menschen in den USA sammeln.
Eine ganze Reihe weiterer, öffentlich zugänglicher Datenbanken wird
außerdem von privaten Unternehmen aufbereitet und verkauft. Dies
schließt unter anderem detaillierte Informationen über die finanzielle
Situation mit ein.
'Wenn es eine Datensammlung gibt, ohne dass die Gesetzgeber oder die
Bürger davon wissen... nun, das ist falsch. Wir müssen wissen, warum das
passiert ist und einen rechtskräftigen Grund dafür', sagte der
Abgeordnete Morgan Philpot.
Und hier die Originalquelle:
Friday, January 30, 2004
Utah unplugs its MATRIX link
Privacy concerns lead state to opt out of data program
By Jerry D. Spangler and Bob Bernick Jr.
Deseret Morning News
Gov. Olene Walker has pulled the plug on the state's participation
in the controversial MATRIX database ? at least until a joint governor-
legislative oversight committee can hold public hearings about the
program that collects comprehensive dossiers on every resident.
"In the interest of the public and in the interest of privacy
concerns, we need to take a serious look at it," Walker said Thursday at
a press conference with Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert
Flowers and Department of Corrections Director Mike Chabries. "When it
becomes a concern to the public, we need to do so," the governor said.
The announcement came in the wake of a copyright Deseret Morning
News report that former Gov. Mike Leavitt had signed Utahns up for the
pilot information-sharing program without informing state lawmakers or
other state leaders. The state received $22,000 in federal money to help
transfer selected state databases to a central database operated by a
Flowers said state officials planned to inform state lawmakers
once they were satisfied it was working and worthwhile, and because they
would need lawmakers to fund a request for $2 million to $3 million to
MATRIX has raised concerns across the nation among conservative
groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, all of whom are
distrustful of government and the potential abuse of the information
collected about residents.
Officially, Utah provides MATRIX with only criminal history
information, driver's license records, Department of Correction offender
records and images, and motor vehicle title and registration
information, Flowers said. The state database with the 57,044 Utahns who
have concealed weapons permits, which is available to law enforcement
but not to the general public, is not yet among those provided to
But there are scores of other public databases that can and are
being "mined" by private companies for sale to super databases like
MATRIX. Those databases include detailed financial information, vital
statistics like birth, death and marriage records, real estate
transactions, credit histories, hunting and fishing licenses, and a host
of other public records.
MATRIX could have that information on Utahns, Flowers admitted.
"But as a state, we are not gathering that information," Walker
MATRIX was initiated by the Department of Homeland Security after
the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a means for law enforcement officers
around the nation to communicate faster and more effectively (only law
officers have access to MATRIX). All of the information in MATRIX was
accessible to law enforcement officers before, "but this lets us do it
faster," Flowers said.
Flowers worked with Leavitt, who was on President Bush's homeland
security task force, to initiate Utah's involvement in the pilot
program, along with 13 other states. Many of those states have since
dropped out of the program because of financial and privacy concerns.
"It was approved by Gov. Leavitt with my support," he said.
Flowers called it a good program with good crime-fighting
potential. But he also said "the public needs to be made comfortable"
with it. The public's potential discomfort with the program was "an
issue since the inception of this," he added.
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, Walker ordered the state to stop its
participation until "we can fully understand it and get additional
information and get local oversight."
Leavitt apparently signed Utah up for the MATRIX project last
June, and Walker said the state began the program in mid-December.
Leavitt could not be reached for comment Thursday, but his former
spokeswoman, Natalie Gochnour, who now works with Leavitt at the
Environmental Protection Agency, said she indicated to her that MATRIX
was a "planning effort," and referred all calls about it to Verdi White,
the head of Utah's homeland security effort.
That might not be good enough for lawmakers who want answers as to
why Leavitt kept it a secret from them. And lawmakers may want to know
if it really works.
Rep. Morgan Philpot, R-Sandy, opened two bill files Thursday, the
last day to introduce legislation in the 2004 Legislature. "If we need a
legislative response to MATRIX, we need to do something now," he said.
A noted conservative, Philpot said he's troubled by what state
government may be doing, and why other states opted out of the MATRIX
pilot program but Utah didn't.
"If we have data collection (on citizens) without legislators or
citizens knowing about it . . . well, that's wrong. We need to know why
this happened and a valid reason for it," said Philpot.
He opened a resolution file, a way to ask Walker and other state
executives for answers if need be. He also opened a bill file, in case
there should be a law. "Together, I'm calling them MATRIX unplugged," he
joked, a play on the titles of a recent series of sci-fi futuristic
thrillers with evil super computers that take over the earth.
He then said there are serious questions to be answered: "Should
we end MATRIX in Utah? What information did we give it? And more
importantly, can we get any or all of it back and have the federal data
Meanwhile, Rep. Chad Bennion, R-Murray, while not knowing about
MATRIX, has already introduced a bill aimed at better informing
legislative leaders about the grants the state seeks and accepts from
the federal government.
HB231 is a three-tiered approach, said Bennion, who added he is
also concerned about what information MATRIX has given out. The bill
? Any grant from $0 to $1 million that has no new employees needed
to conduct the federally funded grant program must be approved
personally by the governor, and state agency heads could no longer make
those calls themselves.
? Any grant from $1 million to $10 million or has any new
employees requires the governor to inform the Legislature's Executive
Appropriations Committee of the grant application before it is accepted,
and allows top lawmakers to nix the grant.
? Any grant or federal program more than $10 million requires
specific approval by the entire Legislature, either in a general or
special session, before it is accepted.
While aimed at controlling ongoing costs of federal grant programs
that could shift to the state when the grant ends, HB231 would still be
a way "of letting (legislators) know what grants we're even
considering," said Bennion.
"If one FTE came with MATRIX, then under my bill it would have had
to have been specifically approved" by the Executive Appropriations
Committee during last summer's interim meeting schedule. Executive
appropriations is made up of leaders of both the House and Senate and of
both political parties.
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