Phil Carter - Put simply, this is a local version of the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness program. It does almost the same things, except the Matrix does not integrate as much information from as many sources. Matrix also does not tie-in to the intelligence community the way TIA was supposed to. Nonetheless, the concept is the same: to use a large, sophisticated database to sift through large numbers of "indicators" in order to put the dots together for counter-terrorism analysts. I think this is a good system and that the civil liberties risks can be managed. I also think it's a great idea to put this system in the hands of local police where the real anti/counter-terrorism takes place.
Spartacus - While civil libertarian types will complain (the WaPo article predictably quoted a staffer at the Center for Democracy and Technology bellyaching about how Matrix is "going to make fishing expeditions so much more convenient"), this should be a big help in the war against terror here in the US. And while I am as libertarian as the next guy (and maybe more so), the alternative to using technologies like these are either accepting terrorism as a fact of life here in America, or resorting to more heavy-handed, traditional law enforcement techniques (for example, putting Arab Americans in internment camps, as was done by liberal icon FDR during WWII, or extensive use of surveillance, bugging and searches of "suspicious" people). As for me, I'm happy to see that the cops and Feds are finally getting the same technology that's been used by all those folks mailing you pre-approved credit cards for years.
Charyl - It would let authorities, for example, instantly find the name and address of every brown-haired owner of a red Ford pickup within a 20-mile radius of a suspicious event. . . . Florida officials say the system will be used only by authorized investigators under tight supervision.