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.”An overview of the solicitation states, in part: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.”
Wirecutter gets rather earthy in his response to this development. I shan’t quote him here. Not that I don’t have exactly the same feelings.
The ATF was formerly part of the United States Department of the Treasury, having been formed in 1886 as the “Revenue Laboratory” within the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Internal Revenue. The history of ATF can be subsequently traced to the time of the revenuers or “revenoors” and the Bureau of Prohibition, which was formed as a unit of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 1920, was made an independent agency within the Treasury Department in 1927, was transferred to the Justice Department in 1930, and became, briefly, a division of the FBI in 1933.
In short, it was established for tax collection. After all, violating federal laws regarding cigarettes, booze and guns is bound to generate heavy fines and taxes.
It appears now they are trying to enlarge their purview, as all government agencies do, when it’s ‘gotta verify what your agency is doing is worth while’ time. Especially after Gunwalker/Fast & Furious.
And, of course, we’re looking at U.N. Arms Treaties, and another Assault Weapons Ban, and Lord knows what else.
As I mentioned in a previous post, they keep testing the fences…
How apropos, I was led here by wirecutter!