The format of a crime and terrorism database known as Matrix is being changed to allay privacy and legal concerns that led several states to drop out of the federally funded project.

As it stands now, the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange combines state vehicle and crime records with commercial databases owned by a private company, Seisint, giving investigators quick access to billions of pieces of information on potential suspects.

The $12 million pilot project originally was to include 13 states, covering half the U.S. population. Several dropped out because of privacy concerns or questions about the legality of sending state-owned records to Seisint's supercomputers.

Five remaining Matrix states -- Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- will now try a method in which each state will maintain its own records, said Mark Zadra, chief investigator for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which has official responsibility for the program. Software will search each state's records as necessary, he said.

http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,64263,00.html


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