Second Amendment Patriots recently reported on how the ATF Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information is planning on using sophisticated machine learning computer science to conduct psychographic analysis and profiling on pro-pun, second amendment citizens, in order to predict future criminal behaviors. Additional details are now becoming available on how they plan to incorporate similar capabilities being used by other agencies, such as the IRS.
The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. agencies (CIA, NSA, FBI, ATF, DHS) full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters earlier this month.
Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of “suspicious customer activity,” such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The FBI already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies (CIA, NSA, ATF), currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN. The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before.
The planning document, dated March 4, shows that the proposal is still in its early stages of development, and it is not known when implementation might begin. The ATF plans to use this newly acquired information as part of the data sets used in their psychographic analysis and profiling generation, which could be shared with other agencies (e.g., IRS, Center for Disease Control, etc.) for targeted data collection. For example, new changes to how the IRS collects information against targeted profiles will make this effort more expansive than originally thought.
Starting this year, 2013, the IRS tools will be able to track all credit card transactions (gun purchases, ammunition, cleaning supplies, etc.), for starters. The agency has also instructed agents on using online sources such as social media and e-commerce sites including eBay, as well as the rich data generated by mobile devices. In one controversial disclosure in April, the ACLU showed documents in which the IRS general counsel said the agency could look at emails (between gun buyers and sellers) without warrants, but the IRS has said it will not use this power.
While the IRS has declined to give details about what third-party personal data it will use in robo-audits and data mining, it has told government and industry groups that its computers are capable of scanning multiple networks at the same time to collect “matching” comprehensive profiles (e.g., supplied by the ATF) for every taxpayer in America. Such pro-gun profiles will likely include shopping records, travel, social interactions and information not available to the public, such as health records and files from other government investigators, according to IRS documents.
Harry Surden, a University of Colorado—Boulder Law School associate professor and former fellow at Stanford’s Center for Computers and Law, who has done in-depth studies on the use of technology by government , has found that data mining and new technology make possible a level of government intrusion into personal lives that few realize is possible. Sources close to the ATF Office of Strategic Intelligence say, “this is just the start, we won’t need a gun registration database, we will infer it from their social actions.”