Utah Gov. Olene Walker has pulled the plug on the state’s participation in the controversial MATRIX database – at least until a joint governor-legislative oversight committee can hold public hearings about the program that collects dossiers on citizens.
“In the interest of the public and in the interest of privacy concerns, we need to take a serious look at it,” Walker said Thursday. “When it becomes a concern to the public, we need to do so.”
The announcement came in the wake of a Deseret Morning News report that former Gov. Mike Leavitt had signed Utahns up for the information-sharing program without informing state lawmakers or other state leaders. The state received $22,000 in federal money to help transfer selected state databases to a central database operated by a Florida company.
MATRIX has raised concerns across the nation among conservative groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, citing potential abuse of the information collected.
MATRIX was initiated by the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 terrorist attacks so law enforcement officers around the nation could shared information more effectively. A number of states have reconsidered linking to the system.