Feeds

A back door to Poindexter's Orwellian dream

Monster miscreant database now in state hands

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The perverse dream of integrating law enforcement, military intelligence and vast databases of virtually everything done by virtually every citizen is coming to fruition, only under state, not federal, auspices.

DARPA's dreaded Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, formerly administered by convicted felon and Republican hero John Poindexter of Iran-Contra fame, may have been de-clawed by Congress, but it lives on at the state level in an incarnation called, ominously, the MATRIX (Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange).

There's a lot to dislike in this new end-run around Congressional oversight. For one thing there are federal dollars behind it -- four million from the Department of Justice -- which makes it clear that the Feds will be expecting a payoff.

It also appears that the scheme is geared more towards data mining in quest of garden-variety criminal activity than anything to do with international terrorism. When you combine that with federal interest, it's hard to resist seeing the MATRIX as a sneaky way for three-letter agencies to keep tabs on ordinary folk and their foibles, side-stepping restrictions on domestic spying instituted since the Church Committee.

And the conspicuous use of the phrase 'anti-terrorism' does send up a red flag, being the standard incantation with which assaults on the liberties and privacy of ordinary citizens are justified.

"The MATRIX pilot project is an effort to increase and enhance the exchange of sensitive terrorism and other criminal activity information between local, state, and federal agencies," the project Web site explains.

The system will use "data analysis and data integration technology to improve the usefulness of information contained in multiple types of document storage systems."

From that it would appear that the scheme is designed to give the Feds what they're not allowed to get simply by re-packaging it and selling it through a back channel. It also looks designed to find and prosecute, perhaps persecute, unfortunate bastards in the name of the American anti-terror Jihad.

The company profiting from this data bonanza, Florida outfit Seisint Inc., is run by a gentleman implicated two decades ago in a drug smuggling ring, according to the Associated Press. This certainly qualifies him as an appropriate understudy to Poindexter.

The states of Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, and Utah have signed on to the scheme. Residents of other states are safe, for now. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.