Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of 10,000+ ATN scope Users

Forums General Discussion Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of 10,000+ ATN scope Users

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    fe7565
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    https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/09/06/exclusive-feds-demand-apple-and-google-hand-over-names-of-10000-users-of-a-gun-scope-app/amp/

    Sep 6, 2019,3:50 pm

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

    Thomas BrewsterForbes Staff

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

    That’s because the government wants Apple and Google 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 an application for a court order filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 5, 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 could be swept up in this latest government data grab.

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

    “Such orders need to be based on suspicion and be particularized—this is neither,” Omanovic added.

    Neither Apple nor Google had responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. ATN, the scope maker, also hadn’t responded.

    Why the data grab?

    The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department is seeking information as part of a broad investigation into possible breaches of weapons export regulations. It’s looking into illegal exports of ATN’s scope, though the company itself isn’t under investigation, according to the order. As part of that, investigators are looking for a quick way to find out where the app is in use, as that will likely indicate where the hardware has been shipped. ICE has repeatedly intercepted illegal shipments of the scope, which is controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), according to the government court filing. They included shipments to Canada, the Netherlands and Hong Kong where the necessary licenses hadn’t been obtained.

    “This pattern of unlawful, attempted exports of this rifle scope in combination with the manner in which the ATN Obsidian 4 application is paired with this scope manufactured by Company A supports the conclusion that the information requested herein will assist the government in identifying networks engaged in the unlawful export of this rifle scope through identifying end users located in countries to which export of this item is restricted,” the government order reads. (The order was supposed to have been sealed, but Forbes obtained it before the document was hidden from public view.) There’s no clear stipulation on the government’s side to limit this to countries outside of America, though that limitation could be put in place.

    It’s unclear just whom ICE is investigating. No public charges have been filed related to the company or resellers of its weapons tools. Reports online have claimed ATN scopes were being used by the Taliban.

    If the court signs off on the order, Apple and Google will be told to hand over not just the names of anyone who downloaded the scope app from August 1, 2017 to the current date, but their telephone numbers and IP addresses too, which could be used to determine the location of the user. The government also wants to know when users were operating the app.

    Innocents ensnared

    The request is undeniably broad and would likely include all users of the app within America, not just users abroad who might indicate illegal shipments of the gun appendage. Tor Ekeland, a privacy-focused lawyer, said it amounted to a “fishing expedition.” (The DOJ hadn’t responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.)

    “The danger is the government will go on this fishing expedition, and they’ll see information unrelated to what they weren’t looking for and go after someone for something else,” Ekeland said. He said there’s a long history of that kind of behavior from the U.S. government. And he warned that the government could apply this demand to other types of app, such as dating or health apps.

    “There’s a more profound issue here with the government able to vacuum up a vast amount of data on people they have no reason to suspect have committed any crime. They don’t have any probable cause to investigate, but they’re getting access to data on them,” Ekeland added. 

    Even those who’ve worked in government surveillance were stunned by the order. “The idea that this data will only be used for pursuing ITAR violations is almost laughable,” warned Jake Williams, a former NSA analyst and now a cybersecurity consultant at Rendition Infosec.

    “Google and Apple should definitely fight these requests as they represent a very slippery slope. This type of bulk data grab is seriously concerning for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the download of an application does not automatically imply the ‘intended use’ of the application. For instance, researchers often bulk download applications looking for interesting vulnerabilities.”

    He said that if the request was granted it may also have a “serious chilling effect on how people use the Google and Android app stores.” He added, “The idea that Google could be compelled to turn over, in secret, all of my identifiers and session data in its possession because I downloaded an application for research is such a broad overreach it’s ridiculous.”

    Though the order is unprecedented in America, non-U.S. governments have tried a similar tactic before on a grander scale. As Forbes reported, an unnamed government had asked Apple for data on 58 million users of a single app as they tried to trace a terrorist cell. Apple declined to provide the data.

     

     

    • This topic was modified 5 months ago by fe7565.
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    oldspook
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    Well, that's not good.

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    biohazardman
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    spysir
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     I'm going to take this new found airgun knowledge and ?????????????????????

     

    John

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    STO
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    What's more concerning about this, if you read the article carefully, is that this means Apple and Google record and store your location information when you use an app no matter where in the world you live. To me anyway, it is much worse that the information the feds seek exists at all, than that they are pursuing it. 

     

    Just my 2c

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    fe7565
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    Allow me to fill in the gap for you, John.  Do you have an ATN scope?  Some of us on this forum do. 

     

    First…if you sell an ATN scope to another forum member outside of the United States without going through the State Department…you may be violating ITAR (based on which Gen that scope is).  That's for one. 

    Second…if that ATN scope that you sold but had registered previously under your name (and used under your own U.S. IP address) somehow ends up on the (online) Obsidian app account of a person overseas, the question may arise for the Feds:  was that ATN scope "exported" in  accordance with ITAR?   Now, normally, the Feds would not care much about this since many high-power optical scopes are also on the ITAR restriction list. 

    But apparently, the problem that the Feds are having (based on the article above) is that some ATN scopes are being used by terrorists/U.S. adversaries (aka Taliban) in overseas locations.  So, that is a third reason why this may matter to an AGN forum member. 

    Now, the odds that the ATN scope you sold ends up in the hands of a person that the Feds are already tracking is very very low…I would say statistically negligible.  But if they get access to the 10,000+ Apple and Google (read: Apple iOS ITunes and Android Google Play) accounts, they may start trying to trace originally U.S. registered ATN scopes to their current overseas users to eliminate them as a possible exporter of ITAR restricted items.  Why isn't the Fed looking into overseas sales of ATN scopes by commercial companies such as Optics Planet, Cabella, etc?  They are, but they already have access to that data under the ITAR reporting requirements placed on these U.S. businesses.  

    If you do not have, or did not sell, or do not plan to sell a potentially restricted ATN scope in the future, or if you do plan to verify before the sale if the buyer is overseas…disregard this post, John.

    https://www.atncorp.com/exportinformation

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by fe7565.
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    Imold
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    But like the article says it can also lead to a Fishing expedition for anything on a person that has nothing to do with the app or ATN like the same thing Mueller did with the Russian hoax and Trump and the dems are still fishing.

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    PumaCarl
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      And, all of this doesn't mean much, if like me, all of your data traffic goes through a vpn portaled all over the world and the data caches are cleared daily.  I am just Joe citizen, don't think that bad guys are not covering their tracks. The govt knows this, which means it really is just a fishing expedition to make a list of who owns what and where. JMO

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    oldspook
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    PumaCarl

      And, all of this doesn't mean much, if like me, all of your data traffic goes through a vpn portaled all over the world and the data caches are cleared daily.  I am just Joe citizen, don't think that bad guys are not covering their tracks. The govt knows this, which means it really is just a fishing expedition to make a list of who owns what and where. JMO

    If you download the ATN app to your smart phone from the app store, all the worlds VPNs will not keep them from knowing what phone number downloaded the app.  So …

    This isn't likely to be intended as a fishing expedition, but it could easily end up that way.  I bought one.  I don't intend to sell it but if I do I will be sure to document the buyer.  Frankly though, if someone were to try to use my X-Sight in a combat role they would likely wind up on the wrong end of a smart artillery round.  Turning on that IR lamp to light up the area would be something like lighting a flood light as far as our troops were concerned.  They would see you immediately.  So not sure the threat to our troops is all that significant.  Now that said, I can envision uses for the tech which would be pretty bad.  Most likely they are more concerned about totally passive IR systems.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by oldspook.
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    spysir
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    fe7565

    Allow me to fill in the gap for you, John.  Do you have an ATN scope?  Some of us on this forum do. 

     

    First…if you sell an ATN scope to another forum member outside of the United States without going through the State Department…you may be violating ITAR (based on which Gen that scope is).  That's for one. 

    Second…if that ATN scope that you sold but had registered previously under your name (and used under your own U.S. IP address) somehow ends up on the (online) Obsidian app account of a person overseas, the question may arise for the Feds:  was that ATN scope "exported" in  accordance with ITAR?   Now, normally, the Feds would not care much about this since many high-power optical scopes are also on the ITAR restriction list. 

    But apparently, the problem that the Feds are having (based on the article above) is that some ATN scopes are being used by terrorists/U.S. adversaries (aka Taliban) in overseas locations.  So, that is a third reason why this may matter to an AGN forum member. 

    Now, the odds that the ATN scope you sold ends up in the hands of a person that the Feds are already tracking is very very low…I would say statistically negligible.  But if they get access to the 10,000+ Apple and Google (read: Apple iOS ITunes and Android Google Play) accounts, they may start trying to trace originally U.S. registered ATN scopes to their current overseas users to eliminate them as a possible exporter of ITAR restricted items.  Why isn't the Fed looking into overseas sales of ATN scopes by commercial companies such as Optics Planet, Cabella, etc?  They are, but they already have access to that data under the ITAR reporting requirements placed on these U.S. businesses.  

    If you do not have, or did not sell, or do not plan to sell a potentially restricted ATN scope in the future, or if you do plan to verify before the sale if the buyer is overseas…disregard this post, John.

    https://www.atncorp.com/exportinformation

     

     Where's the "gap"?   ITAR  is a law (I'm well schooled in)    Where's the airguns?   Where's the big beef?

     Is the concern, getting caught? Or doing something wrong?   atn/nv scope is NO different than many.most mil-dot scopes , same rules and we all know we can not ship most over sea's even to "friends" which is why we never read of such things here.

     "some airgunners" use em, sure & some use mercury dampers (may be shipping restrictions). 

    This is an    "oh my   worry about big brother" post.  SHOULD it be legal to ship anything you want anywhere? Maybe, maybe not but we all know the law.

    Surveillance then must be the issue? As we all post on the Internet, sheesh.   Never use a computer (or software devices) and they cant track you, easy.  Folks darn sure want their warranty tracked AND signed up to share information with the world as well as agreeing to all federal regs (same agreement you made when purchasing Right Guard or such).

     Drop this in the OT section, it IS important folks understand life,

     But but but,    

    YES    this post is all about   Airgun  Rights, got it. Thanks.  Now I'm off to my favorite Civil rights/conspiracy forum for some good solid airgun reading.

     

    John

     

     

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    fe7565
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    oldspook

    rankly though, if someone were to try to use my X-Sight in a combat role they would likely wind up on the wrong end of a smart artillery round.  Turning on that IR lamp to light up the area would be something like lighting a flood light as far as our troops were concerned.  They would see you immediately. 

     Funny, but true, the ATN scopes with IR lights many use on airguns would just be easy picking for our troops…  :)

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    Queequeg
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    Any Phone App can be remotely exploited and used as an audio / visual data source. If you use the app while the scope is on it can be accessed remotely. It is also possible for the exploiter to remotely turn many systems on that are IoT enabled through WiFi or Bluetooth.

    Right Now a new software is being marketed to 911 call centers that is run by an AI system that has the ability take control of any phone that calls it and use it for remote data acquisition. They are also recruiting App users who will let them have access their devices to use as remote Data sources. And BTW it has full access to any and all data stored on the phone or a cloud account. And all of this can be done without human supervision, including deciding when to direct Law Enforcement to a specific situation.

    This is just a small example of what capabilities are claimed by the developers.

     

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    Saltlake58
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    Well, as I read the article, the formal request to Google and Apple wasn't made yet.  The judge hasn't ruled.  The DOJ requested that a court order to hand over the information be approved.  As such, the Judge should challenge the DOJ before handing out a Court Order like that.  If the judge is doing their job, they'll  trim the request to IP's outside the US.  

    Until the judge rules, there's no request to Apple and Google.  Even if the judge approves, Apple and Google can appeal.  This could go on for a long time before any data changes hands.

    Simply the complicated, strange, weird and bizarre US legal system crawling along.

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    Michael
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    fe7565
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    Michael

    Good to know ATN is willing to stand their ground unless compelled otherwise by U.S. Law.

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    Saltlake58
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    Too bad ATN has no control over the data.  I suspect they signed over any rights to the data to Google and Apple when they uploaded the apps.  Sooooo, better hope Google and Apple stand their ground.  They've been known to cave, so I'm still concerned.  All depends on the judge reviewing the DoJ request at the moment.

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    Elbowgrease
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    Well lets hope they dont start asking (demanding) for ChairGun, Strelok, or any other ballistic app user info. I mean its already a scary situation with them demanding ATI app info. I was considering purchasing one but will forgetting that for some time until this gets resolved. I have been watching this closely and will continue to do so. 

    Some of you may have see this but this is just a small example of the morons who run things. On the bright its funny as hell as to how dumb people are.
     

     

        

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    dan_house
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    STO

    What's more concerning about this, if you read the article carefully, is that this means Apple and Google record and store your location information when you use an app no matter where in the world you live. To me anyway, it is much worse that the information the feds seek exists at all, than that they are pursuing it. 

     

    Just my 2c

    your half right. They do know where your fone is (assuming you have location services turned on) when you DOWNLOAD the app

     

    the wrong part is they have no mechinism (yet anyway) to track when/where you use any app. One thing to keep in mind:Many apps want to location services so they can either assistn you, bury you in ads based on your location, and many other, including things like local weather

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by dan_house.
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    FoxOptic
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    This device (4K) does not amplify light, depends on "visible" IR more than the previous version, has been plagued with firmware issues, is mildly un-reliable, is designed around accessory up-sale, and has far fewer app downloads than the previous version, which by the way is rated a whopping 2 stars. (Obsidian vs Obsidian 4)  My opinion, ATN has struggled with sales in this device, due primarily, to quality issues and dealers abandoning them.  They set MAP (street retail) prices at SHOT in 2018 when this was released and they have pretty much been on "clearance" since day 1. (Not a good show of consumer faith in the brand or product) Now they announce an international version without the Ballistic calculator that they, I assume are looking to export. (The international version appears to be the exact same device, devoid the portion of the device which provides the same ballistic data available on about a thousand different websites and apps)  Does ATN seem to make the news every year about this time with some scandal? (Last year there was a Yahoo story about them being mixed up in some Russian dealings and a big "management shakeup" followed.  Could it be that any publicity is good publicity and marketing is what ATN really does best? 

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    Gunnertrones
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    So………. no GDPR in the US of A I presume. 

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