Firearms Owners’ Protection Act Under Siege By DOJ, Apple, and Google

On Thursday, September 5, 2019, the Department of Justice filed an application to obtain a court order which allows them to subpoena both the Apple Store and Google Pay Store for all user information on those who have downloaded the app Obsidian 4.

The app is used to enhance the experience of using night-vision scopes made by American Technologies Network Corp. (ATN) It was created so hunters can video record or live stream their hunts. In addition, the app allows them to calibrate their gun scopes right from their phone on both Android and iOS platforms.

Great British Shooting Show
GETTY IMAGES : The federal order calls for the release on the data of users who downloaded apps used to calibrate scopes from a major manufacturer.

How many users this court order would affect is not quantifiable but we know the number is higher than 10,000 since Google Play indicates that over 10,000 users have downloaded it, while the Apple Store does not provide such information.

Google Play Store

I use this scope when I go hunting. It let’s me “show off” to my friends when we compete to see who gets the biggest buck of the season and how we do it. Sometimes it shows my fails too, but it’s all good. It doesn’t work well with waterfowl hunting but for more patient hunting it’s perfect. My little sister uses it when she goes bow hunting with my dad.

Tyler K. Moorehead, MN

This application for a court order to obtain user information is very likely to be a violation of the National Firearms Act (NFA) .

While the Attorney General of the United States has the authority to do many things, it is clearly stated that they cannot have a registry with the names of gun owners and their weapons cache.

No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearmsfirearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s [1] authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.

18 U.S. Code § 926.Rules and regulations
X-Sight 4K

According to the application for the court order, it’s clear that ATN is NOT under investigation. It’s NOT clear WHO or WHY they are investigating, but implies there is a criminal investigation. According to Forbes, ICE launched the investigation when illegal ATN products were seized in Canada, Hong Kong and Holland, as reported by the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR).

The fact that ITAR is involved makes this all the more interesting. ITAR is a U.S. agency that regulates and restricts export of DEFENSE and MILITARY related technology in the name of National Security and to protect our nation’s foreign policy objectives.

The scope is not a weapon and the petition for a court order isn’t targeting foreign entities, but users WITHIN the United States. So what does ITAR have to do with this?

My child who is 13 uses the app when we hunt. If they get this information he will be flagged in some ICE, FBI or Department of Homeland Security database side by side terrorists. The data they collect will be user private identifying info. I don’t like the idea of my child in a terror database, cause that is what it sounds like their fixin’ to do.

Roger F. Hunter Clearwater, Fl

The order is very specific. It is asking for the data of all users that downloaded the app since August 1, 2017. Since the Android version of the app was released on March 21, 2018, this gave good reason to believe that their original request, or what prompted the investigation, may have involved an Apple iOS device. After further research, we realized that the Apple Store claims its release as March 23, 2018, so why are they asking for data since August 1, 2017 for Obsidian 4? Is it their beta testers they are after?

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.

Excerpt from DOJ application for Order (now under seal)

A user review of the scope establishes that only certain scopes will work with the app, indicating that the DOJ application for court order is targeting specific scope users.

User Review

With all the talk of DARPA, HARPA, Social Credit Scores and FBI Face Service (aka Citizen Score), if this court order is granted, it could set precedent for the government getting Private Identifying Information (PII) on users of any app. Be it health apps, fertility apps, medication apps, dating apps, secret confessions apps, etc., consumers download and use these apps in good faith, trusting that their information remains confidential.

Once again, it is not evident what the DOJ wants with this data information and ITAR confiscation of scopes, not weapons. It truly doesn’t make sense. People can use this app on scopes for guns, bows, and BB guns. Many are concerned as to what they will do with the information and how it will be stored and used.

These tech companies need to stand up for their consumers. When we get data for one thing we inadvertently collect other data too. It’s like buying Halloween candy. You want the Mr. Goodbars but you also get the Dark Chocolate too. Besides, the app itself doesn’t imply how someone is using the app, so how do you excuse providing non-target persons’ PII? They will get credit card info, IPS, locations, app data, photos, device information, and gun information if they are using it for a gun, emails and much more. It’s a privacy data grab.

NRO Privacy Policy Specialist

Forbes obtained this application by the DOJ petitioning the court before it was sealed. This is a major red flag in and of itself. Under seal, the DOJ is requesting private companies to violate the trust U.S. consumers have vested in them and provide their PII (Private Identifying Information).

Apple has been stellar in their fight for consumer privacy, at least the ones that we know of, since a lot of these privacy violation applications occur under seal. A few months back, Forbes reported how law enforcement agencies across the globe are bombarding Big Tech and social media companies with thousands of requests per week for consumer data. In fact, Apple declined such a request from an unnamed government who asked Apple for data on 58 million users of a single app, as reported by Forbes.

The gun grab is heating up from the left and it is important that the DOJ recognize that laws are in place to protect U.S. citizens. By obtaining the user data from the Obsidian 4 app, it will inadvertently supply them with a list of weapons that may be used by the users, according to the National Firearms Act (NFA) .

Tore is a nationally syndicated talk radio host that airs live M-F 12-2PM EST on Red State Talk Radio and a contributor for LauraLoomer.US.

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