Fear real-life Matrix will be
"By enlisting these
nimbler, technologically savvy players as one's
private police, one would also gain another advantage; freedom from some
of the constitutional and other restraints that would burden the state
were it to act directly. Intrusions into privacy, automatic scrutiny of
e-mail, curtailing of fair use rights so as to make sure that no
illicit content was being carried; all of these would occur in the private
realm, far from the scrutiny of public law. There are advantages to
privatising the Panopticon, it turns out."
Seisint also operates as Accurint.com which offers more information on
its vile technology than the secretive Seisint site.
site boasts of awards from the FBI, Secret Service and
legal organizations, and solicits business from law firms, insurance
companies, debt collectors, and other private spies.
Cryptome welcomes for publication information on people associated with
Seisent and Accurint -- officers, investors, board of directors,
employees and governmental, business and private customers. Send to
Those who most want to spy on others fear most their secrets will be
New York Daily News,
Fear real-life Matrix will be monitoring you
DAILY NEWS WRITER
The Matrix has arrived.
The most massive database
surveillance program in history, the
Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange could soon offer authorities
extensive information on the lives of New Yorkers.
Potentially more information than they'd ever expect: past addresses
and phone numbers; marriage and divorce records; arrest records; real
estate information; photographs of neighbors and business associates; car
make, model and color; hunting and fishing licenses; and more.
The database, created by Seisint, a small
offers law enforcement officials access to a centralized database capable
of combing through data for patterns or suspicious traits.
For example, Matrix could locate all brown-haired males with a pilot's
license living in
have not added state records to its database.
"There's no way the state is going to proceed with this program if it
doesn't meet our privacy standards 100% and doesn't have federal funding
to support it," said Lynn Rasic, a spokeswoman for the state Office of
Seisint officials said Matrix can help authorities find
especially terrorists and child kidnappers.
"It's going to save lives," Seisint vice president Bill Shrewsbury
boasted. "It's not Big Brother - it's a life-saving investigative tool."
Despite the eye-catching
name, Seisint officials insisted Matrix is no
more than a faster way of gathering previously available information.
Many are skeptical.
"We should not be rushing headlong into a brave new world without
public scrutiny of this program," said Jay Stanley of the American Civil
Liberties Union's technology and liberty program.
"Programs like Matrix are a quantum leap backward in the protection of
our privacy," added Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's technology
and liberty program. "This is an attempt to connect together all the
strands of our private lives."
Matrix was developed by Hank
Asher shortly after the 2001 terror
attacks. Asher was forced to resign from Seisint when he was connected to an
earlier drug smuggling case, although he wasn't charged.
"It's an incredible irony," Steinhardt said. "We all have something in
our past that we might be ashamed of - whether it's real, or imagined
by false data." Even Asher "has something quite real in his past that
The company, which has
received funding from the Justice Department and
the Department of Homeland Security, works to continuously expand
Matrix by combining government and commercial databases. Seisint also combs
its own commercial database, Accurint, to gather still more
information, like purchasing preferences by individuals.
Matrix's database is guarded by police at Seisint's offices. Only about
20 employees are allowed access for data-entry and routine system
At least 14 states have
considered using Matrix.
state using Matrix at full capacity.
Many civil liberty activists said Matrix is a privately owned version
of a federal surveillance program rejected by Congress in September
called Total Information Awareness.
"Congress already clearly spoke," said Michael Trinh, a policy analyst
at the Washington-based
attempt to implement this on a state level requires public scrutiny."
Originally published on