The Federal government has already made great strides in ensuring that anonymity is a thing of the past with massive data-collection-and-storage facilities like fusion centers and a post-9/11 American legal structure that makes government’s ability to spy on citizens easier than ever.
And American citizens, for their part, have willingly placed themselves in a position to be spied upon with relative ease via addiction to social networking and reliance on technology that provides unprecedented convenience.
Unfortunately, for all of the joy of being instantly able to contact old friends or keep in touch with busy grandchildren on social networks or the benefits that come from always having a phone on hand that doubles as a computer, Americans pay a high price: There is no such thing as privacy. And even if you refrain from using the aforementioned technologies, someone you know has likely already unwittingly provided the surveillance state with enough information to include you in the dragnet.
A recent notice posted on the website of the Federal Business Opportunities reveals that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is currently seeking help putting together a “massive online data repository system.” The system, to be operated by the ATF’s Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information (OSII) for at least five years, would enable the agency to conduct ongoing automated searches and find links between people by scouring “structured and unstructured data.”
ATF officials are looking for a company capable of setting up a computer program that would compile databases of financial data, online information, vehicle registration records, phone numbers, addresses and all other manner of potentially identifying information in order to provide detailed records on American citizens searchable with just a few keywords. Using information gathered from social networks and other sources of publicly available data, the agency also wishes to be able to automatically establish connections between an individual and his family members, business associates and acquaintances without having to search more than one source.
While Federal agents can generally locate the aforementioned information using current investigative resources, the ATF says the database system it wants to implement allows it “quickly respond to problems, threats, etc.” spending as few man-hours on old-school detective work as possible.
That means ATF will be able to conduct no-knock raids, like that carried out against YouTube sensation Kyle Myers of the FPS Russia gun enthusiast channel, on more Americans and faster than ever before.