The Michigan State Police recently contracted a software firm to create and expand a huge database of citizen information that is intended to be used as a crime-fighting instrument. The contract’s overall cost was over $12 million. This contract was awarded back in December 2018 to a software company called “Information Builders.” The state of Michigan has now halted all work related to the database project saying that their product is inoperable. The company has recently sent a $2.6 million invoice for work performed which is being disputed by the state of Michigan.
“Golden Records” And The Surrounding Controversy
Information Builders promised the Michigan State Police that they would create a huge collection of data that would produce what is termed “golden records” on its citizens. These records are considered “golden” because of the way that they would combine different data from all kinds of sources, including social media. Civil liberties attorneys have found this to be controversial because of the potential for abuse and the potential of unconstitutional surveillance of citizens. They also argue that these records will simply concentrate more police efforts in areas that are already over-policed.
Who Is Involved?
The main people involved in this project are the Michigan State Police and Information Builders, however there has also been controversy surround the new vice president of innovation and technology at Information Builders. Captain David Kelly was the Michigan State Police commander in charge of information technology until he retired from the Michigan State Police back in April of last year. He was immediately hired by Information Builders to work for them and ultimately became a Vice President. Many states have what’s called a “cooling-off period” when state officials are involved with vendor contracts, the state of Michigan is not one of them. As such, the Michigan State Police has stated that they don’t have any concerns about former Captain Kelly accepting a position with Information Builders, where he still is employed today.
Why Is The Project Being Halted?
The Attorney General’s Office has mentioned concerns about this project, and the appearance of impropriety. At issue is Captain Kelly’s retirement from the Michigan State Police and the immediate subsequent hire of Mr. Kelly to Information Builders; another former Michigan State Police official is being considered for a position at Information Builders. While these are legitimate concerns, the main reason for the halt of the project is because Information Builders simply have not delivered the product that they promised. An official with the Michigan Department of Technology stated that the data hub created by Information Builders was inoperable and because of that, the rest of the data cannot be accessed or used. An assistant Attorney General has said that the state is considering whether they should terminate the contract completely as Information Builders has not provided what they promised. During the contract negotiations, Information Builders was able to remove a customary clause that would allow the state to terminate the contract “for convenience.” What this clause basically meant is that the state could terminate the contract without stating any reason on the record at all for the termination. The state still has an option. They have the ability to terminate the contract “for cause” or can mutually agree with Information Builders as to a different resolution. The state agrees that a “for cause” termination of the project would drastic, but it is being considered. We are still waiting for the outcome of this ongoing situation.
Any Further Questions?
If you have any questions related to this article or are facing potential criminal charges in either state or federal court, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is being investigated or charged with a criminal offense, it is imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients statewide on criminal charges. We have been successful in both state and federal court in helping our clients. Feel free to reach out to us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.