Michigan State Police Drop Out of MATRIX

March 07, 2005

DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan learned today that the Michigan State Police (MSP) will no longer participate in the Multi-State Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) data collection program that had been at the center of an ACLU lawsuit against the MSP.

“Our intent was never to remove an important law enforcement tool, but simply to ensure all that there be some oversight and public accountability,” said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director.  “The end of this program should not be seen as the end to the need to comply with the law if other opportunities to share information of this magnitude arise.”

The suit, filed on behalf of the organization and three individuals, including former Michigan Governor William Milliken and a Catholic nun, asked a state court to stop the Michigan State Police from participating in MATRIX until the MSP complied with a state law that requires legislative approval or a citizen oversight body.  The law is meant to prevent unsupervised and uncontrolled access to information about individuals.  

Since 2003 the Michigan State Police have 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. 

According to the ACLU, MATRIX also contains a vast array of non-criminal information on the citizens of Michigan including information that is speculative, inaccurate and possibly constitutionally protected.  

According to a press release issued by the MSP, they are terminating their involvement in the program because the value of the program has diminished since 8 of the 13 participating states have dropped out of the exchange. They also cited concerns about future funding.