The ATF is seeking bids for an online database to more quickly find out stuff about you — including who your friends are, Wired reports
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives already does such searches, Wired notes, but the task can be slow and laborious and is largely done by hand.
In a notice for bids on the Internet, the ATF says it wants a “massive online data repository system” to be used by its Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information (OSII). The agency says the system should operate for at least five years and be able to run automated searches on people as well as “find connection points between two or more individuals.”
ATF wants the system mainly to speed up criminal investigations and cannot by law use it to create a federal database of gun purchases, though, as Wired notes, that is a “big part of the ATF’s job.”
While the idea of speeding up criminal investigations sounds good “in theory,” Wired says, the system could give the agency more information than people are comfortable with it having. It could also provide information that isn’t even relevant to the case the agency is pursuing.
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