On March 28, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) posted this notice on FedBizOps.gov, titled “Investigative System”. If you click through and read the Statement of Work (SOW), you will find that that Investigative System is really a “massive online data repository system” that contains “public records and non-public/proprietary information”.
Anytime we see language like this from a government agency or politician, it’s a cause for further investigation, if not outright concern. So what about this case?
Here’s the full overview from the SOW:
In step with the vision of ATF to embrace and use leading-edge technology where appropriate, OSII utilizes a number of internal databases as well as external sources to provide timely and relevant information and intelligence products to law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local levels. Many of these tasks are performed manually, resulting in longer turnaround times on important information and intelligence research and analysis requests.
Sounds very reasonable so far, right? So what about the objectives (high level requirements) for the system?
Here are the objectives of the SOW:
The objective of this effort is to obtain access to an online data repository system service comprised of public and proprietary records that contains a variety of data sources that can be utilized by Intelligence Analyst, Special Agents, Inspectors, Financial Investigators and Law Enforcement support staff to provide rapid searches on various entities for example; names, telephone numbers, utility data and reverse phone look-ups, as a means to assist with investigations, and background research on people, assets and businesses.
A massive online data repository system that contains a wide variety of data sources both historically and current that can be utilized in support of investigations and backgrounds through the use of automated external systems containing public records and non-public/proprietary information that provides a means to rapidly check records across the country is necessary in assisting investigators, agents and analyst to find people, their assets, relatives, associates and more.
ATF needs an online system that provides the following: nationwide utility data, expert plus search and extended law enforcement search capability, obtain exact matches from partial source data searches such as, incomplete social security numbers, address, VIN numbers, etc., phonetic name spelling, location radius, or age range, address mapping, conduct a linear search of an individual, ability to link structured and unstructured data to find connection points between two or more individuals.
File this one under interesting. Is this the beginning of a national registry that Democrats have wanted for a long time, as some on the internet are saying? At this point, I don’t think so, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.