Apple and Google ordered by U.S. to provide names, phone, other data on 10,000+ users of this gun scope app

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/06/apple-and-google-ordered-by-u.html

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The scope of the initial request should be restricted to IPs from un-licensed foreign countries and VPN providers. This doesn’t cover all the bases of course but it would be a far more valid starting point than an unfiltered dragnet like this. :roll_eyes:

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what exactly does a “gun scope app” do?

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From what I read, it helps calibrate the scope, records video from a built-in camera, and assists with the night-vision functionality.

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Fantastic, just what firearms equipment needs to make it safer, a connection to the internet of shit’s laughable security. /s :roll_eyes:

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It’s a long time since I was into target shooting, so I’ll extrapolate from the software I used in the 90s. If it’s collecting imagery through the CCD (these are night vision, so I’m guessing there are CCDs), then it can find the hole made by the bullet and adjust windage and elevation to bring the point of impact into the proper position relative to point of aim at that range.

There are other possible features, such as having a database of ballistic coefficients for various bullets, but I’m imaging that this mostly a replacement for something like the process of bore-sighting and zeroing.

A large part of the entertainment value for me was producing my own databases of ballistic coefficients and then experimenting with trajectories at long ranges. I am not at all a Ruby Ridge 2nd ammendment sort of person, but I can really see the attraction in having something like a Barrett .50 and shooting at 1km ranges. That would be a whole new level beyond shooting with something like a .308. Maybe you’d even have to take the Coriolis effect into account.

But, meh, I don’t even Google this stuff anymore. If I do, Google and all the various spambots I can’t eliminate start feeding me ammosexual porn.

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That makes a lot more sense. I highly doubt that the suspected arms dealers would download the app themselves (on multiple phones? using the same Google and Apple accounts?) instead of just telling their customers to do it on their own phones once they receive the shipment of scopes.

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This isn’t my “I’m Spartacus” moment, but I wonder if rights advocates will be downloading the app to make a statement.

Maybe I do have something to worry about. I am behind a VPN, so I might be making more of a statement than I’m willing to risk.

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I see. I did not realize the hardware was electronic - I thought it was only optics.

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Facebook, of course, refused, saying, “No freebies. You want it, you’ll pay for that data just like the Russians do.”

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Having made the mistake of clicking the link and watching the video, I’ll spend the rest of the day feeling distressed.

Throwing an enormous dragnet out on an app to nab the tiny % of guilty parties who sold the technology to the enemy is overkill, but I certainly understand the red-mist mentality of any Sgt. Rock type of guy who similarly watched that or any associated videos and wants the pound the guilty parties to a pulp.

That said, invading Iraq and Afghanistan was a guaranteed-to-fail executive decision that should’ve been met with jail sentences upon Bush’s departure from office. As much as I loathe Trump, I have a larger metastasized hatred of W for making a mockery & Trojan Horse of 9/11.

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The app is a free download too. Anyone with a phone, but no guns, could download it. (I really wouldn’t recommend that, unless you want to go on the list.)

(Besides, it has a whole lot of 1 star reviews.)

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FYI:

What is ITAR?
International Traffic in Arms Regulations. We had this on a thread the other day about being able to buy some old F-16s with all of their military avionics intact. Basically there is certain gear you can’t sell outside the US (between countries) with out the proper licenses. This goes mainly for “military” gear - anything from magazines, to scopes, to guns, to tanks, or armored humvees. Now WHICH things these apply to, I am not 100% sure. I have seen warnings on magazines, and I think that is because they have a DoD number and the military can order them. As well as things like the EOTECH or Trijicon scopes. It must apply to some other things not military specific like thermal scopes. Usually this is something the manufactures worry about - they can’t sell outside the US with out permission, but individuals can get in trouble too.

What is this App?
Obsidian 4, from what I have gathered, is a poorly written App for Android and IPhone that is supposed to connect your electronic scope or binoculars to your phone or tablet. If it all worked correctly, it would allow you to change settings, record, and make adjustments to your Reticle remotely. I think it has a ballistics calculator as well,

What is this ATN company and products?
Not super familiar with them, but it looks like ATN is a maker of lower end night vision and thermal vision scopes and binoculars. Night vision is that green soup video you’ve seen from the Gulf War where an infrared laser illuminates the dark and the scope or binoculars allow you to see. Thermal sees the heat signatures of things. If you have hard of a FLIR camera, it is the same thing. I am assuming civilian level gear doesn’t have near the range or power of military stuff (I know that is the case with IR lasers.)

These scopes and binoculars have a digital component to where you can zoom and record digitally like a movie camera. And then you can link to your device to control that functionality. Evidently it doesn’t work very well according to the reviews.

So what do people use these for?
Uh, not very familiar with this either. There are two components - the digital tools, and the IR/Thermal. The digital tools look gimmicky, but supposedly it will help you zero the scope and adjust for windage and distance. Regulars scopes aren’t hard to zero, and you can adjust them for windage and distance, but you have to know how to do it. (Long range rifle shooting is the most cerebral of all the shooting sports. Lots of math, experimentation, and small, precise adjustments.) I am curious how well they work vs how well their ads make it look like they work.

Both the scope and binoculars can take video, because why not, everything takes video now. I imagine people use it to take hunting videos, or in the case of binoculars, wildlife and sports videos.

The IR and Thermal are really new to me. Back when I did any hunting, it ended at sunset. I think that is the case still in most cases. But evidently night hunting feral hogs is now a thing. Never done it, don’t know much about it.

So what is the government doing?
Evidently ICE found some ATN scopes. The government wants all the data on all the users of the App (which you don’t HAVE to use to use the scope) in order to try to glean where these things are being used outside the US. According to the article I read, this is a bit alarming because they have never asked for a blanket list of everyone who used an app before. And if this allowed, which app will they do that to next?

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Said “security” is not laughable. It’s fucking terrifying.

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Hooo Boy, then you’re not gonna like the Precision Guided Firearms.

There are electronic scope+triggergroups that will let you designate a target, pull the trigger, and the gun will wait until a perfect shot is aligned before autonomously firing. With little to no modification it’s an entirely automated weapons platform. Commercially available.

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Maybe the whole thing is a trap? By pretending it is a really dangeous app the US government trick unsuspecting terrorists to use it, encumbering them with a useless piece of software that will hang at the critical moment or cause them to miss.

OTOH, I doubt authorities are that smart.

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Damned, I feel sorry for my conservative “friends” who now have to somehow create a set of mental gymnastics to square ICE’s witch hunt of immigrants (yay, immigrants BAD!) with ICE’s witch hunt of gun scope users (boo taking our guns BAD!)

I will just sit back and pour myself a beer.

(edit)

*“feel sorry” <-- quotes added, fixed it. No I don’t feel sorry for any conservative while they’re actively conservatating.

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We here have to go through the ITAR drill annually. But, you ask me, these days the gov might do better to focus on domestic sales; hate groups, ya know. This is long-distance-kill military tech.

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You can have my app when you pry it from my cold, dead battery phone!

What are you involved in that requires ITAR adherence? GPS stuff?