ATF To Use Online Databases To Track Investigations


Some people see Facebook as a massive online database helping to point out common connections between people. In line with such a project, recently reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms issued a notice about the agency’s desire to cooperatively develop an online database meant to be used by its Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information. The database would enable the agency to track the physical characteristics and personal connections of individuals under investigation.

According to the source, the agency solicited vendors and developers to create a custom online database via the Federal Business Opportunities website, requesting that the database be capable of working for a period of at least five years.

Wired magazine’s Robert Beckhusen also reported on this topic, noting that if realized, the online database could help government agents track persons of interest much more quickly than they are currently able to do. Beckhusen regularly referenced the official solicitation, which detailed that much of the work related to locating an individual is currently performed manually, consuming a great deal of time and resources that might not be necessary.

“Primarily, the ATF states it wants the database to speed-up criminal investigations,” Beckhusen wrote. “Instead of requiring an analyst to manually search around for your personal information, the database should ‘obtain exact matches from partial source data searches’ such as social security numbers (or even just a fragment of one), vehicle serial codes, age range, ‘phonetic name spelling’ or a general area where your address is located. Input that data, and out comes your identity, while the computer automatically establishes connections you have with others.”