How would you feel if our government collected your personal information - including your name, address, date of birth, place of birth, height, weight, sex, driver's license information, and vehicle information, then made it available on the Internet for hackers to get hold of?
Upset? Vulnerable? Furious?
Well, if you've purchased a gun from an authorized dealer anytime since 1989, you might want to sit down.
The ATF's trace request submission system, known as eTrace, does just about what I've described above. It's a series of databases that track gun purchases in the U.S., and whenever a citizen applies for a gun in the U.S. the form they fill out gets filed with the ATF's eTrace system. This is used by law enforcement agencies to trace weapons to their original owners, among other things.
Only in the last couple of years, this system and its data has been made available to the law enforcement agencies of more than 35 countries. Places like Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Suriame, Jamaica, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic.
What do many of these countries have in common? Deep-rooted endemic corruption throughout their government and law enforcment agencies.
As of right now more than 17,000 people around the world have access to the data in this system. What are the chances a couple of them might decide that selling the personal information (to include Social Security Numbers) of millions of Americans might make a profitable side business?
How do you feel about your personal information being made available in real time to foreign governments? Perhaps it's time to tell your elected officials to do something about that.