Court Rules that Michigan State Police Must Disclose Information about MATRIX
DETROIT – A judge ruled today that an American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan lawsuit against the Michigan State Police (MSP) will not be dismissed and can move forward with discovery. The suit was filed on behalf of the organization and three individuals, including former Michigan Governor William Milliken and a Catholic nun, who are asking the court to stop the Michigan State Police from participating in the Multi-State Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) until they are willing to comply with state law.
"Judge Warfield Moore’s ruling will finally allow the sun to shine on the government’s methods of sharing private information on law-abiding citizens," said ACLU Executive Director Kary Moss.
MATRIX is an intelligence gathering tool used to build detailed dossiers on individual people, select people for further investigation on the basis of a variety of queries, and uncover previously unknown linkages between people.
Since 2003 the Michigan State Police has provided criminal record data, arrests records, sexual offenders list records, and motor vehicle registration records to MATRIX which is operated by a private company, Seisint Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida. Seisint has also purchased the drivers license records of all Michigan residents.
“Because of the enormous power and inherent danger in this type of system, it is vital that MATRIX operates in an open and accountable manner,” added Moss. “We will now be able to proceed to ‘discovery’ and determine what or if records are being compiled on innocent citizens.”
The next hearing date has been set for August 18, 2005, in Wayne County Circuit Court before Judge Warfield Moore.