MATRIX FOIA Request to the New York State Police Department

October 30, 2003

Technical Lieutenant Glenn Miner
New York State Police
Public Information Office
Bldg. 22, 1220 Washington Ave.
Albany, New York 12226

Re:  Freedom of Information Law request for the records from the New York State Police Department

Dear Lt. Miner:

This is a request pursuant to New York Freedom of Information Law, Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, for access to and copies of all agency records (including, but not limited to letters, correspondence, tape recordings, notes, data, memoranda, reports, email, computer source and object code, technical manuals, technical specifications, or any other materials) held by the New York State Police (NYSP) regarding the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX).

This request includes, but is not limited to records regarding:

The specifications for the MATRIX, including, but not limited to documents regarding storage capacities, throughput (e.g. number of identity files processed per hour), types of computers used, and user manuals;

  • What personal data is accessed and/or used by the MATRIX, including, but not limited to documents regarding the types of personal data (including, but not limited to drivers' records, financial records, medical information, marriage records, divorce records, Internet usage information, phone records, travel records, voting records, biometric data, educational records, information regarding race, ethnicity, immigration records, criminal justice records and/or gun owners' records) accessed or used by the MATRIX, the contents of any personal information databases related to the MATRIX, the number of individuals whose personal data has been obtained, how that data was obtained, including, but not limited to documents regarding how such data was selected for use in the MATRIX and any agreements and/or contracts to obtain such personal data, including, but not limited to any agreements and/or contracts with Seisint Inc. (Seisint), the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services  (NYDCJS), the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYDMV), the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and/or NYSP or any other agency, entity, or person(s), the retention of any such data, including, but not limited to retained records or results, the record retention policies pertaining to these systems, any documentation of the approval of the retention policies by DHS, DOJ, any state government agencies (including, but not limited to NYSP, NYDCJS and/or NYDMV) and/or their contractors (including, but not limited to Seisint);   
  • Any procedures for analyzing the data, including, but not limited to the criteria used by the MATRIX to determine whether someone is a terrorist, including, but not limited to the use of information regarding race, ethnicity, religious background, internet usage, travel patterns, political views, political activities and/or consumer purchasing habits in any way, shape or form;  
  • The results of any tests, including, but not limited to any logs or other written descriptions of how any such systems is and/or has been used, the accuracy rates of any such systems while in operation and assessments of the individuals whose data was collected and used;

·        Who has access to the MATRIX, including, but not limited a complete list of all recipients of data from the MATRIX; any procedures for individuals to find out what information the MATRIX has about them, any procedures for individuals to correct information that the MATRIX has about them, and any procedures for individuals to find out what the MATRIX has determined about them;

·        Any procedures in place to protect the privacy of the individuals whose data was accessed and/or used by the MATRIX, including, but not limited to documents regarding oversight boards, login restrictions, pop-up screens at sign-on, data security measures, encryption, reduced use of certain criteria (e.g. race and/or ethnicity) and/or data checking to ensure accuracy of the information, how any of the personal data accessed and/or used by the MATRIX will be destroyed, and documentation of any policies permitting such destruction;

·        Details regarding usage of the MATRIX, including, but not limited to the number of times the MATRIX has been used, the cases or circumstances in which the MATRIX has been used (including, but not limited to instances where the MATRIX was used for non-terrorism investigations purposes and/or for non-criminal investigations purposes), the information that was collected in each instance, the results in instances when the MATRIX was used, including, but not limited to whether any terrorists were caught through use of the MATRIX in each instance, how many innocent people were caught through use of the MATRIX in each instance, notes or logs created during any of these instances where the MATRIX was used, and what happened to people identified by the MATRIX as a threat, the number of times the MATRIX has malfunctioned, the cases or circumstances in which the MATRIX malfunctioned, and what happened in each instance that the MATRIX malfunctioned, any procedures that are in place for use/testing of the MATRIX, including, but not limited to who decides whether the MATRIX will be used/tested in a given case, procedures for handling requests to use the MATRIX in a given case (including, but not limited to requests from state agencies, Federal agencies and/or private entities), the number of requests to use the MATRIX that have been received so far, the entities and/or individuals who have made requests to use the MATRIX, and the number of such requests that have been rejected,

·        Any legal analyses regarding the MATRIX, including, but not limited to documents regarding whether the MATRIX violates international, federal, state and/or local privacy laws, including constitutional protections; 

·        Organizational details regarding the development and use of the MATRIX, including, but not limited to documents regarding sources of technical and/or financial support for the MATRIX, which federal, state and/or local government agencies are involved and/or cooperating in the MATRIX project, the extent to which such agencies are involved and/or cooperating in the MATRIX project, what companies (including, but not limited to Seisint), consultants and or colleges are involved and/or cooperating in the MATRIX project, the extent to which such companies, consultants and/or colleges are involved and/or cooperating in the MATRIX project, the amount of money spent on developing the MATRIX system so far, the sources for this money, and budgetary outlays for future development and/or maintenance of the MATRIX;

·        Records regarding training of people to use the MATRIX, including, but not limited to textbooks, video presentations, contracts and/or agreements to be signed by MATRIX trainees, and the number of people who have been trained to use the MATRIX so far; and 

·        Meetings regarding the MATRIX, including, but not limited to any meetings between Lieutenant Colonel Steven Cumoletti and other government officials to discuss the MATRIX.. 

This request also includes, but is not restricted to information regarding similar activities being conducted by any public and/or private agency or organization.

We agree to compensate NYSP for the cost of duplicating and providing paper copies of any of the records of which we request duplication, as provided by law. Upon locating the requested documents, please contact us prior to photocopying and advise us of the actual costs of duplication or any necessary staff research time so that we may decide whether a narrowing of the request will be necessary.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Your immediate attention to these matters is greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director
New York Civil Liberties Union

Chris Dunn
Associate Legal Director
New York Civil Liberties Union

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