At the end of season 3 of Person of Interest, we see how the new rival AI Samaritan needs access to the government feeds. Greer explicitly asks Senator Garrison for permission to access them in episode S03E20, "Death Benefit".

However, after Season 2, the Machine is independent from the government and still has access to the security feeds. The same thing happens in season 5, when the Machine is built up again. Why can the Machine have free access to the data while Samaritan still needs that data from the government?


2 Answers 2


Even in season 3 the machine continues to give both relevant and irrelevant numbers. That's why the goverment has not revoked its access as they need the machine's help. Even though technically the machine is out of the goverment's hands at the end of season 2, it was never in the goverment's hands from the start. It was a black box which few high authorities trusted to give access and they still trust it.

Also most people who knew about how access was provided are dead and other people just are assuming this access is sanctioned. Until someone specifically orders to decommision the access, it continues this way.

One more thing to consider is that the Machine was provided access under the name of another project whose details are confidential.


Machine did not have free access, root used subway's encrypted system to tunnel into the government feeds (SNAFU).

Samaritan needed the feeds from the government, to make it legit, and possible to be used by governments. The machine was not used by the government anymore, so its access did not have to be officially sanctioned.

  • 1
    That's for season 5, but in Seasons 3 and 4 the Machine still had access to the government feeds without permission (the Machine was no longer under the government's control)
    – cholo14
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 14:38

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