Schmit Family
Welcome to , , , and virtual front porch. This web site is just that; a place to visit for family, friends, and anyone, who are too far away, to stop by in person. Pull up a chair and stay a while....

10 March 2004 10:36 pm

The Matrix

No, this has nothing to do with the red pill or the blue pill. The Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (Matrix) is a potential reincarnation of the Total Information Awareness project for which congress finally banned funding. Wired News has a story on the Matrix and Wisconsin's decision to join the program. Out of the 13 states that started the program, six of the original remain: Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Florida. The others realized that their citizens weren't too keen on a company in Boca Raton, Florida collecting all the personal information on which they can get their hands and providing it to various government agencies. This program is especially troublesome since it could be used as a predictive tool. Imagine Minority Report and replace the precogs with database agents. The Matrix web site claims your information is safeguarded through what sounds like an end-user license agreement (EULA). This is not reassuring given how well everyone reads and follows software EULAs.

Want to send a clear message to your elected representatives regarding privacy rights? That may be difficult. As the primaries are held throughout the country, we are beginning to see the manifestation of problems with poorly designed electronic voting systems. Think butterfly ballots are bad? The LA Times reports that in 21 precincts in Orange County, electronic voting machines reported more votes than registered voters. Given how close the 2000 presidential election was and how close Kerry and Bush are in the polls, we, as a country, are setting ourselves up for a disaster.

Update: As reported by Wired News, Wisconsin and New York have withdrawn from the Matrix program. Five states remain: Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. So, has this shrinking number of participants convinced the Matrix officials that this program isn't wanted. Nope. Instead, they are skipping over the states and trying to get the Department of Homeland Security to fund the program for all fifty states.

Posted by geoff at 22:36 in /politics