USDA Internet Mining

USDA Internet Mining
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 January 2013 08:56

Just how much is Big Brother watching over you? Probably much more than you are aware of. If you are a pet breeder, large or small (for commercial sale), or are in the horse business for shows, sales, exhibitions or auctions, you are about to be monitored even further.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), to quote from their request for contractors, “has a new requirement for Internet Data Mining Services to gather information from a variety of Internet sites in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA), for the enforcement of basic standards of care and treatment of regulated animals for commercial sale, used in research and transported commercially, or exhibited to the public in the United States.”

Now combine this with the largest spy facility in the country, reportedly five times larger than the US Capitol Building, currently under construction near Bluffdale, Utah. Upon completion, according to Wired Magazine, the entire contents of all forms of communication, including your private emails, cell phone calls, internet searches, and other personal data trails (parking receipts, travel plans, bookstore purchases and all other digital “pocket litter” transactions) will be monitored by the National Security Agency (NSA). Wired Magazine reports that this “heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013,” making the NSA the largest, most covert and intrusive intelligence agency in history. Aren’t you feeling just real cozy about now?

What is the USDA looking for in their new internet mining operation? A contractor who will build data modules that will monitor regulated activities of APHIS, particularly those that are unlicensed or registered in the following activities:

1) Sales of animals used as pets (all warm blooded animals)

2) Sales of wild and exotic animals

3) Animals exhibited to the public for compensation

4) Animals used for research, teaching, testing, and experimentation

5) Commercial transportation of animals

6) Horse shows, sales, exhibitions, and auctions (such as Tennessee Walking Horses)

7) Animal auctions

According to their contractor request, “During the initial 6 months period of this contract, the vendor shall monitor two of the predetermined modules above, Sales of animal used as pets; and Horse shows, sales, exhibitions and auctions. After evaluation of the services provided, subsequent modules may be added contingent upon the success of the pilot project, not to exceed the modules listed above. For each module, the contractor shall work with Animal Care personnel to identify the search parameters needed to accomplish each of the modules above.” Did you notice what is listed first in their priority?

The request boldly states that this will not involve a human, but internet web technology. It will look at:

• Global Domain Registrations

• World Wide Web

• Social Networking Web Sites

• Web logs (Blogs)

• IRC/Chat conversations

• Message Boards

• Public email groups and discussion forums

• Usenet Data

• Auctions – and Auctions

“The Contractor shall provide initial format to include all site information, site owner’s name, site owner’s address, IP address, seller’s name, seller’s addresses, and other information as deemed appropriate such as buyer’s name and buyer’s addresses.”

This all comes under the direction of Sarah Conant, formerly with the H$U$ and now is the Chief Officer for Compliance for the USDA/APHIS. Your tax dollars are paying for this, under the guise of looking for “animal abusers.” How many “I am tired of abusing this animal/I know it was banned years ago, but I still sore my horse, so come buy this animal” ads are out on the internet? Do they really believe that an internet ad or chat forum provides proof of abuse?

The request for contractor was issued “on or about June 29, 2011,” so who knows, it may already be up and running. Would this be a test for the new spy center in Utah? Or is this a case of technology abuse, and a “create a situational need, then lobby for it?”


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