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Fri Sep 6, 2019, 01:11 PM

Exclusive: Feds Order Apple And Google To Hand Over Names Of 10,000+ Users Of A Gun Scope App

Source: Forbes

Exclusive: Feds Order Apple And Google To Hand Over Names Of 10,000+ Users Of A Gun Scope App

Thomas Brewster Forbes Staff
Cybersecurity
I cover crime, privacy and security in digital and physical forms

Own a rifle? Got a scope to go with it? The government might soon know who you are, where you live and how to reach you.

That’s because Apple and Google have been ordered by the U.S. government to hand over names, phone numbers and other identifying data of at least 10,000 users of a single gun scope app, Forbes has discovered. It's an unprecedented move: never before has a case been disclosed in which American investigators demanded personal data of users of a single app from Apple and Google. And never has an order been made public where the feds have asked the Silicon Valley giants for info on so many thousands of people in one go.

According to a court order filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on 5 September, investigators want information on users of Obsidian 4, a tool used to control rifle scopes made by night vision specialist American Technologies Network Corp. The app allows gun owners to get a live stream, take video and calibrate their gun scope from an Android or iPhone device. According to the Google Play page for Obsidian 4, it has more than 10,000 downloads. Apple doesn't provide download numbers, so it's unclear how many iPhone owners have been swept up in this latest government data grab.

If Apple and Google decide to hand over the information, it could include data on thousands of innocent people who have nothing to do with the crimes being investigated, privacy activists warned. Edin Omanovic, lead on Privacy International's State Surveillance programme, said the order would set a dangerous precedent and scoop up “huge amounts of innocent people’s personal data.”

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Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/09/06/exclusive-feds-order-apple-and-google-to-hand-over-names-of-10000-users-of-a-gun-scope-app/

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Exclusive: Feds Order Apple And Google To Hand Over Names Of 10,000+ Users Of A Gun Scope App (Original post)
Eugene Sep 6 OP
Paladin Sep 6 #1
graeme_macquarrie Sep 11 #7
Paladin Sep 12 #8
DashOneBravo Sep 12 #9
RainCaster Sep 6 #2
sir pball Sep 6 #3
sarisataka Sep 6 #4
yagotme Sep 7 #5
ManiacJoe Sep 8 #6

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri Sep 6, 2019, 01:26 PM

1. My, my, my. Can't wait to see the full story on this.

I haven't bought a rifle scope in over 30 years, so I'm not worried about it.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 11, 2019, 08:48 PM

7. The Full Story is

 

That ATN manufactures Night Vision and Thermal Imaging optics that are restricted from export.
Customs keeps intercepting illegal export shipments of these devices- not from the company or wholesalers.
They are investigating who is doing this and figure to run down some people outside the U.S. that have these devices.
The Obsidian app works with the HD imaging systems of these optics, so they think they will find some bad guys out there.

Buying rifle scopes or not has nothing to do with the government issuing a blanket order to collect data on everyone with the app regardless of whether they have committed a crime.
If you are okay with that, then you should sleep well at night.

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Response to graeme_macquarrie (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 07:56 AM

8. Thanks for the info.

I'll just treat your backhanded final statement as a bonus feature. Enjoy your stay.

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Response to graeme_macquarrie (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 12, 2019, 11:40 PM

9. It's curious that someone with 28 posts would say that.

Last edited Fri Sep 13, 2019, 01:06 AM - Edit history (1)

I’d hope that anyone at ATN would do whatever it could to make sure that it’s products were not used against American citizens, law enforcement, friendly forces.

And you picked someone with no law enforcement or military experience to respond

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri Sep 6, 2019, 01:53 PM

2. Perhaps we should all download that app

Just to screw up their statistics. It gives them so many more to investigate.

Edit: I just installed this on my phone, it doesn't require that you have the scope.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri Sep 6, 2019, 03:13 PM

3. Meh, just get a good general ballistics app

I have one that lets me plug in my specific load data, and then give me a handy table along with a graphic that lets me choose my reticle and then literally shows me the holdover.

I only own bolt-action rifles, but I do sometimes hunt out to 400 yards - it's really handy.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri Sep 6, 2019, 03:29 PM

4. It will be interesting to see how this plays out

I expect many will say they should give up the information because guns

That would set a precedent however for the government to request a similar list of information on any other app to locate potential criminals, say for example a list of information on all snapchat users

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Response to sarisataka (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 7, 2019, 11:38 AM

5. So they know where all the

"evil sniper rifles" are.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sun Sep 8, 2019, 06:05 PM

6. I would love to see the court-signed documentation on this.

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