Commentary

ATF Seeks 'Massive' Database of Personal Info: 'Assets, Relatives, Associates and More'

By Gregory Gwyn-Williams, Jr. | April 6, 2013 | 3:33pm EDT

A recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) reveals that the agency is seeking a "massive" online database capable of pulling up individuals' personal information, connections and associates.

On March 28, ATF posted the notice on FedBizOpps.gov, entitled "Investigative System."  The solicitation was updated on April 5 with a few minor changes.

The document says that the system will be utilized by 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."

The system is described as 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."

The overview of the solicitation states:

Staff will utilize "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."

The system "provides a means to rapidly check records across the country" and is "necessary in assisting investigators, agents and analyst to find people, their assets, relatives, associates and more."

The ATF says they will use this system to provide information to Intelligence Analysts, Special Agents, Inspectors, Financial Investigators and Law Enforcement.

The investigative system will allow ATF to "obtain exact matches from partial source data searches such as, incomplete social security numbers, address, VIN numbers, etc."

The system will also have the ability to "link structured and unstructured data to find connection points between two or more individuals."

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