August 11, 2020

Internet Spying Disguised as Animal Welfare

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https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=32bd1af59684e333790b21abc656ca0b&tab=core&_cview=0

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Excerpt:

PART I – STATEMENT OF WORK
Internet Data Monitoring

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Animal Care (AC), Riverdale, MD, has a requirement for a contractor to provide internet surveillance/data mining for individuals that are conducting Animal Welfare Act or Horse Protection Act regulated activities domestically within the United States.

A. BACKGROUND
Animal Care is charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA). The AWA requires that basic standards of care and treatment be provided for regulated animals for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public. Individuals who operate facilities in these categories must provide their animals with adequate care and treatment in the areas of housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperatures.

The HPA prohibits horses subjected to a practice called soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait. It may be accomplished by irritating or blistering a horse’s forelegs through the application of chemicals such as mustard oil or the use of mechanical devices. The HPA also prohibits drivers from transporting sored horses to or from any of these events. APHIS works actively with the horse industry to protect against such abuse and ensure that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows.

USDA, APHIS, Animal Care personnel need to monitor, collect and manage information from Internet sites for regulated activities throughout the United States. We require the expertise of an industry that utilizes technological advancements that can search the broad universe of Internet sources for information on individuals that are conducting regulated activities.

This project is to be designed to evaluate vendor’s Internet Search Engine functionalities, user interface, and data to ensure that the data meets the Animal Care program needs. The results of the 6 month initial pilot project will determine the feasibility of extending the contract.

B. OBJECTIVES

The vendor shall create modules that shall monitor regulated activities. The module shall provide identification, categorization and analysis of Web sites to identify persons suspected of conducting regulated activities without the required license or registration or illegal activities involving horse shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions. The jurisdiction of the AWA and HPA are confined to the United States and its territories, so these modules shall only search for these criteria that occur in the United States.
The regulated activities to monitor are grouped into the following seven modules:

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

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.

C. CONTRACTOR TASKS AND DELIVERABLES

Project Management: The Contractor shall assign a Project Manager for this initiative to oversee the development of the project, ensure the timely accomplishment of each task and provide the Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) with a contractor point of contact for this contract.

A. Tasks

The tasks to be accomplished shall include:

1) During the initial 6 months pilot project period of this contract, the contractor shall focus on individuals or businesses engaged in the Sale of Animals Used as Pets; and Horse shows, sales, exhibitions, and auctions.

2) The contractor shall use their data mining and search engine capabilities to scan the entire Internet for businesses or individuals suspected of conducting AWA or HPA regulated activities without the required license or registration or illegal activities involving horse shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions within the domestic United States and its territories. THE SCAN SHALL BE VIA INTERNET WEB TECHNOLOGY SEARCH ENGINE TOOLS, NOT A HUMAN BEING. The Internet sources include, but are not limited to:

* 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 – eBay.com and Yahoo.com Auctions

3) The Contractor shall collaborate with AC personnel to establish the appropriate search criteria for the identifying individuals or businesses engaged in the Sale of Animals Used as Pets; and Horse shows, sales, exhibitions, and auctions. The contractor shall promptly notify AC if there are any complications with the established search criteria.

4) The Contractor shall meet with AC officials to discuss search criterion in person, by telephone conference call or webinar. No travel costs for contractors are covered under this contract.

5) The Contractor shall make search data from the Sale of Animals Used as Pets; and Horse shows, sales, exhibitions, and auctions modules accessible online to the government via a Web Portal Display. The portal is made up of the following components:

* Dashboard to monitor activity across multiple solutions and users
* Case management system
* Message center
* Permissions-based user access
* Ad-hoc query access to client-specific data
* Ad-hoc query access to Vendor’s database of registered Domain Names

6) Contractor Intelligence Analysts shall review the pool of suspected data items generated by the Internet search tool to identify relevant data from the Internet. Contractor Intelligence Analysts shall summarize the findings as well as highlight the highest priority data according to agreed-upon criteria. The summary shall be delivered monthly via email and to the case management system of the Web Portal Display.

7) The Web Portal Display system shall be fully configured within fifteen (15) business days from receipt of the required Government’s data. The first data from the module shall be available to the Government within thirty days (30) from system configuration.

8.) The Contractor shall provide training on Web Portal Display system for reviewing of reports or search results to the COTR or alternate and AC personnel. Sessions shall be conducted via webinar.

9) Contractor shall provide a “help desk” option, where assistance can be found if questions arise from the reports or search results.

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