The ability of law-enforcement agencies around the United States to spy on average citizens has increased dramatically. Improvements in technology
and cooperation means more data about everyone is collected and shared. This is a relatively long article.
Armed with the latest information, police will be better able to catch crooks and spot criminal trends. But in this digital age, with so much data
available about individual Americans, the lines between what is acceptable investigation and what is intrusive spying can quickly grow unclear.
Consider the case of Matrix. Backed by $12 million in federal funds, at its peak in 2004 the Matrix system tapped into law enforcement agencies from a
dozen states. Using "data mining" technology, its search engine ripped through billions of public records and matched them with police files,
creating instant dossiers. In the days after 9/11, Matrix researchers searched out individuals with what they called "high terrorist factor" scores,
providing federal and state authorities a list of 120,000 "suspects."
Law enforcement officials loved the system and made nearly 2 million queries to it. But what alarmed privacy advocates was the mixing of public data
with police files, profiling techniques that smacked of fishing expeditions, and the fact that all these sensitive data were housed in a private
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Individually, articles of this type by Valhall, SkepticOverlord, et al, might not mean a lot. But taken in their totality, they become a serious
issue that serious people need to be yelling from rooftops.
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