According to an exclusive published by Forbes, the US Federal Government is demanding the personal information of over 10,000 users of a certain gun app that they host on their platforms, called Obsidian 4. The app is “used to control rifle scopes made by night-vision specialist American Technologies Network Corp.”
From the Forbes article;
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.via forbes.com
Whether or not the companies will give in to the demand is another story, but it’s an important thing to watch. Millions of gun owners use different gun-related apps on their phone, so what’s to stop future requests for different apps?
The data wanted by the government is a part of a broad investigation regarding export regulations.
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.
Still, with a reach this broad, there would likely be thousands of law-abiding gun owners whose information would be shared with government officials. What they’re really looking for are the problems coming from outside the US, with people here getting caught up in the mix as innocent app-downloaders.
It can be a slippery slope, for sure, and it’s something that we should all be paying attention to.
Speaking of gun-related apps, do you have any on your phone that you use? Are you ever suspicious of your information potentially being released at some point? Chime in below.