7
Sep
2004

Re-enter the matrix

Multistate anti-terrorism project regroups after early missteps

When law enforcement officials from several states got together after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and decided they needed to improve the way they share information, they came up with the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (Matrix) system. It seemed like a great idea, and as a technology project, most believe it still is. It has moved what was a time-consuming method of tracking investigative leads — making phone calls or sending faxes to people in other states and waiting hours or even days for a reply — into the 21st-century world of electronic networks and automated database queries. What the law enforcement professionals who put Matrix together did not bargain for was the ensuing uproar over privacy concerns and accusations of government Big Brotherdom.

If officials decide to move forward with Matrix once the initial evaluation phase ends next March, project participants know they will have to do a much better job of explaining the system to politicians, the public and even their law enforcement colleagues.

http://www.fcw.com/supplements/homeland/2004/sup3/hom-matrix-08-30-04.asp


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