23 November 2003. Thanks to D.
Seisint also operates as Accurint.com which offers more information on its vile technology than the secretive Seisint site.
The Accurint 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who most want to spy on others fear most their secrets will be bared.
New York Daily News, November 23, 2003
By MADELEINE BARAN
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 Florida high-tech company, 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 Queens.
New York law enforcement officials are considering using Matrix but 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 Public Security.
Seisint officials said Matrix can help authorities find criminals, 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 was uncovered."
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 maintenance.
At least 14 states have considered using Matrix. Florida is the only 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 Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Any attempt
to implement this on a state level requires public scrutiny."
Originally published on November 23, 2003