ICE Asks Google, Apple to Hand Over User Data for ATN Scope App

ATN offers thermal, night vision, and infrared scopes, some of which are controlled by an app. (Photo: ATN Facebook)

For the first time in history, the United States government is asking Google and Apple to hand over personal information from users of a single app. And – surprise! – it’s gun-related.

The Department of Justice is asking the tech giants to surrender information from at least 10,000 users of Obsidian 4, a tool used to control rifle scopes made by night-vision specialist American Technologies Network Corp (ATN), according to a report from Forbes.

The would-be data seizure comes as part of an investigation by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement into illegal exports of ATN’s scope. The company isn’t under investigation, according to a court order filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), but law enforcement officials have intercepted illegal shipments of the scope to Canada, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

By obtaining telephone numbers, IP addresses, and use times of Obsidian 4 users, officials hope to track the networks that have been illegally exporting and receiving the scopes.

GunsAmerica reached out to ATN, who told us via email they were unaware of these allegations until Forbes published its article.

“ATN has not been contacted by the Department of Justice, Apple, or Google,” they said. “ATN will protect its customers and their identifying data to the absolute extent possible under U.S. law. And, it will not provide any information regarding the identity of our customers to any third party unless specifically required by law.”

SEE ALSO: Digital Night Vision Scope for $599? Hog Hunting with the ATN X-Sight II HD

Privacy rights experts told Forbes that federal agencies shouldn’t be able to scoop up data on individuals who haven’t been suspected of a crime. Worse still, the information they acquire could be used to open investigations on individuals totally unrelated to the original data request.

“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,” Tor Ekeland, a privacy-focused lawyer, told Forbes.

Ekeland pointed to the U.S. government’s long history of widespread data collection and warned that the feds 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.

SEE ALSO: The FBI is Adding New Database for Wider Background Checks on Gun Purchasers

The government hasn’t named any particular group or individual under investigation. Online reports have claimed that the Taliban has used ATN’s cost-effective night vision optics, but it remains unclear exactly who the feds are hoping to track. If the court grants the order, Google and Apple will be asked to hand over the user information or fight the request in court.

Jake Williams, a former NSA analyst and now a cybersecurity consultant at Rendition Infosec, told Forbes the companies should fight to protect their users’ information.

“Google and Apple should definitely fight these requests as they represent a very slippery slope.” 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.”

“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.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

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  • Jim September 15, 2019, 8:46 pm

    The foreign fighters manage to get unlimited numbers of AKs and enough ammo to use \”spray and pray\” rather than aimed fire. That should tell us that the Taliban already have a weapons supply chain, since AKs are not manufactured in Afghanistan.So…night vision is NO longer exotic tech. The Russians and Chinese have unlimited cheap NV equipment to pass along to the enemies of America. If the best our generals can hope for is that we are fighting unequiped cavemen, that is not much confidence in our ability to win. On the other hand, Obama apparently saw to it that billions of ARs ended up in the hands of ISIS, but no mention of that anywhere, lately.There is no legit reason to go after people just because a scope or two made it overseas. This is just an exercise of intimidation against the American people, full stop.I think two things are our enemies here. First, UN pressure to take control of all arms and accessories within the USA, and that is a strategy by sellout anti-2nd plotters. Second, the US govt. wants to protect their buddies at Lockheed and Raytheon, who sell billions of dollars of heavy weaponry to despots across the planet every year. Pathetic.Saudi Arabia attacked us on 9/11 and is clearly our enemy (embargoed us in 1975), so the government responds by invading Saudi Arabia\’s enemies and by selling Saudi Arabia $300B of new weapons, while aiming the full weight of the US government DoJ apparatus against a couple yokels who sent a scope to their buddies in Netherlands. Pathetic pathetic pathetic.Meanwhile, DoJ has the likes of Comey, McCabe and Strzok dead to rights on traitorous actions against the duly elected President, and what…no charges coming??? Comey walks scotfree, while the yokel who sent a scope to his buddy overseas gets the book thrown at him over it??? And by the way, Apple and others are supposed to betray their entire user base by handing over our data without a probable cause and warrant? This sounds familiar. Stalinism.

  • Jim September 15, 2019, 8:44 pm

    The foreign fighters manage to get unlimited numbers of AKs and enough ammo to use “spray and pray” rather than aimed fire. That should tell us that the Taliban already have a weapons supply chain, since AKs are not manufactured in Afghanistan.

    So…night vision is NO longer exotic tech. The Russians and Chinese have unlimited cheap NV equipment to pass along to the enemies of America. If the best our generals can hope for is that we are fighting unequiped cavemen, that is not much confidence in our ability to win. On the other hand, Obama apparently saw to it that billions of ARs ended up in the hands of ISIS, but no mention of that anywhere, lately.

    There is no legit reason to go after people just because a scope or two made it overseas. This is just an exercise of intimidation against the American people, full stop.

    I think two things are our enemies here. First, UN pressure to take control of all arms and accessories within the USA, and that is a strategy by sellout anti-2nd plotters. Second, the US govt. wants to protect their buddies at Lockheed and Raytheon, who sell billions of dollars of heavy weaponry to despots across the planet every year. Pathetic.

    Saudi Arabia attacked us on 9/11 and is clearly our enemy (embargoed us in 1975), so the government responds by invading Saudi Arabia’s enemies and by selling Saudi Arabia $300B of new weapons, while aiming the full weight of the US government DoJ apparatus against a couple yokels who sent a scope to their buddies in Netherlands. Pathetic pathetic pathetic.

    Meanwhile, DoJ has the likes of Comey, McCabe and Strzok dead to rights on traitorous actions against the duly elected President, and what…no charges coming??? Comey walks scotfree, while the yokel who sent a scope to his buddy overseas gets the book thrown at him over it??? And by the way, Apple and others are supposed to betray their entire user base by handing over our data without a probable cause and warrant? This sounds familiar. Stalinism.

  • Don Richardson September 13, 2019, 5:33 pm

    ITAR – The Department of State’s International Traffic In Arms Regulations identifies items which are NOT legal to export because they would increase the military capability of our enemies. These items (night vision) fall under those laws.

    • Michael September 16, 2019, 5:35 pm

      This is true, but to cast a net over everyone, is like taking every driver into custody because there maybe a drunk driver on the road.

  • ~ Occams September 13, 2019, 11:40 am

    The only ‘global terrorists’ are the US and Israel. Everyone else is in-fighting…..or repelling an ILLEGAL INVADER that used the ruse of 9/11 to invade innocent countries who’s only ‘crime’ was having oil….

    And NOT having a Rothschild ‘Federal’ Reserve/Central Bank.

    Who’s left?

    Iran, N Korea, and Russia.

    Any lights go off?

    • leon September 15, 2019, 3:17 pm

      sadly but true

  • DtTabio September 13, 2019, 11:04 am

    They are pushing us towards a shooting Civil War to protect our rights.
    That will mean 100 million dead Americans. No rules of engagement. No mercy and No Quarter.

    Sic Semper Tyrannis!

    • leon September 15, 2019, 3:18 pm

      we are our worse enemy.

  • ~ Occams September 13, 2019, 10:53 am

    “Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it.

    To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one’s self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker, but only to give moral cowards and excuse not to think at all.” ~ Michael Rivero, whatreallyhappened.com

    You people are going to lose your 2nd because you choose to believe the nonsense you see and hear from politicians and MSM.

    Start looking; whatreallyhappened, blacklistednews, fromthetrenchesworldreport (and NOT Alex Jones). Start learning what is REALLY going on.

    It ain’t ‘Fake News’. These people work for less-than-peanuts to bring you truth and facts because they BELIEVE IN SOMETHING. Not as ‘exciting’ as the incredible stories the MSM conjures up from their scripts, but I prefer truth.

    You’re going to have some serious, ‘spine-required’ decisions coming to you. I GUARANTEE IT.

  • WarrenHall September 13, 2019, 10:42 am

    ‘Greased slope’ is more like it…

  • Gerald September 13, 2019, 10:16 am

    No one reads past headlines any more. ABSOLUTELY they should find out who is exporting this sort of tech to our enemies overseas. TO OUR ENEMIES, FOLKS. THAT is the info ICE seeks. Get a grip and realize that sometimes, the gov’t is actually doing their effing job, which is to protect us from these outside threats.
    God, what a shame that needs to be explained.

    • baumerk September 13, 2019, 10:45 am

      The gubment can do their job tracking the device without the app info. Track only the ones that left this country.

    • Mister M September 13, 2019, 3:58 pm

      No problem they can find who is selling tech to our enemies, but they can’t do that by broadcasting a net and catching everyone then sorting through who is good and bad. They have to do the leg/hard work. They are not allowed to just scoop everyone up and sort through who is good and bad they need to cherry pick the bad out of the bunch.

    • Douglas September 15, 2019, 3:09 pm

      The government will do their job, for as long as We The People “see” them doing it, and when that job is done they’ll go on to the next job they just created.. that we don’t see them doing.

  • rsmalt September 13, 2019, 9:40 am

    So, because I purchased an ATN X-Sight 2 and downloaded the Obsidian app a couple of years ago, I’m now the subject of Imperial Department of Justice scrutiny.

    If it please The Crown, would you kindly stay out of my life?

  • Wtf ru thinking September 13, 2019, 8:29 am

    …you’re using an app to shoot? How jackassy do we need to get?

    • Dash September 13, 2019, 10:20 am

      Exactly. I’m tired of technology advancements piggybacking our delicate, expensive, failure-prone phones using crappy apps. Its a halfassed way of developing a product.
      Now the Feds try an invasive 3rd party work-around to get info???
      What happens if apple or android said they’re blocking the use of “firearm related” apps (possibly following this kind of federal inquisition)?? So then your high-dollor pos scope becomes a paperweight…

      I wish I could get a simpl flip phone with dual protected-when-closed screens, with decent gps mapping and a camera, and toss the 2lb brick thats in my pocket now.

  • Casey Meester September 13, 2019, 7:19 am

    This is what happens, when YOU failed to have a large enough outcry against the Trump-stock ban. Which was a childish move and illegal. Now another illegal search. What will be after this if we don’t put a stop to it?

    • deanbob September 13, 2019, 10:07 am

      How much of an outcry has there been against the Trump DOJ ongoing battle to prevent Judicial Watch from getting DOJ, FBI and other federal agencies’ documents that relate to Hillary Clinton’s personal email and server data, the government’s (FBI, DOJ, and alphabet agencies) documents related to spying on President Trump?

      The truth is there are top level Trump appointments who are running the federal agencies; and, the rest are hold overs from previous administrations, who are predominantly left leaning. These holdovers, and often their managers, operate with their own agenda – independent of the Trump plan.

  • BILL September 13, 2019, 7:17 am

    Does nobody realize that the fisc/Visa courts have an entire body of laws and precedents that completely overrule the SCOTUS and our Constitution, and guess what, its all,ALL, secret and nobody can know jack about any of them. Our Constitution means absolutely nothing anymore.
    Judicial has recently uncovered all of this in some of their many requests for discovery of info pertaining to RGate, another lie, and surprise surprise, they’re being stonewalled. Oh yeah, FOIA requests have a 25 year delay attached to them, meaning that the government has 25 years to complete the request. Really? That’s just hilarious isnt it?
    These people have had decades in power to put us into bondage. We are all slaves and just dont realize it. Our plantation is just a little bigger is all. Just sit down and think, literally, about the consequences of not doing what your ordered to do and what the punishment is for resisting is and tell yourself that your NOT a slave, only our master is Satan.

  • Jay September 13, 2019, 6:25 am

    Our government has become nothing more than Mob Gangsters fighting for Control!

  • Scott Gunnell September 13, 2019, 4:54 am

    Right, and once the ATF gets all that info they would never save it all and use it against American citizens…

    • Jon Dough September 13, 2019, 8:58 am

      only in WACO -right ?

  • Zupglick September 12, 2019, 12:37 pm

    Nothing is safe on the internet.

  • wi September 12, 2019, 9:59 am

    Here it comes, yet another infringement on our privacy and 2A rights. Government is NOT to be trusted. Liars, cheats and thieves, every last one.

  • Keith C G Kyle September 12, 2019, 9:45 am

    I am aware that everyone is concerned about Government over-reach. However, in this specific case it is more worrisome that “the bad guys” are getting access to a US manufactured critical add-on to a weapon system. It would be best if ICE or DOJ went directly to the manufacturer (ATN) and enlisted their support in tracking devices & serial numbers that have shown up in battle area’s.

    • Sal Palma September 12, 2019, 3:16 pm

      This is a complex issue with potentially serious ramifications. Placing these technologies in the hands of global terrorists has to be avoided. Many of these networks are subsidized by foreign intelligence entities. Social media has resulted in the creation of platforms that can be used by individuals and organizations to orchestrate and plan illegal activities under the cover of individual privacy rights. Take for example the mass shootings that now endanger 2A rights. With exception of Las Vegas, all had extensive social media footprints. So, I have mixed feelings on the issue but I don’t believe that government’s intentions are nefarious. I think there needs to be some level of cooperation between tech and government given the appropriate court orders.

      • Mister m September 13, 2019, 6:31 am

        So you trust the government? People in the USA send money to terrorists in other country should we all have to surrender our bank information. I get the social media post reporting and it f some one says they want to harm themselves or others but this is not the case. Law abiding citizens should not be violated constitutionally because other break the law. That’s like your neighbor committing a crime and the cops breaking down every door and searching every house on the block just because your close.

      • Donttreadonme September 13, 2019, 8:00 am

        “Trust me, Im from the government”

        Lol, yeah right!

      • Tyrone September 13, 2019, 8:45 am

        Heck, all they [whoever “they” are] would have to do to nail us and take these nice scopes, would be to hack whatever the program that operates the APP to find when a unit is being used and where. Armed with that, they could arrange a “meet & greet” and maybe an accident….

      • jon dough September 13, 2019, 9:01 am

        A level of cooperation between tech and government given the appropriate court orders.

        Like WACO, RUBY RIDGE, & the BUNDY RANCH -right ?

    • Mister m September 13, 2019, 6:29 am

      This isn’t Nazi Germany. If they want to still illegal exports or imports on anything they have search capabilities at the boarders. They need to do the leg work and find the criminals the hard way. If you determine a criminal ran into a house on one block you do not have the right to breakdown the door and search every house on the block. They need each customer to sign and say yes or it’s an illegal search and seizure plan and simple. No wiggle room under any circumstances.

    • Blasier Ralph B September 13, 2019, 8:41 am

      ICE should first try to cooperate with ATN.

    • Mister M September 13, 2019, 4:01 pm

      Agreed it’s not good that our enemies have tech to kill our soldiers but this is not the way to go about it. Also going to ATN is not the way either unless they say these are the few we found who did you sell them too. They are going to google because google is antigun and they can cast a broader net and find more info. They do not have good intentions and they will not just ignore the guy that downloaded this for long distance shooting.

  • wtsane September 12, 2019, 7:02 am

    We are creating our own dystopia, right now. Have a doorbell camera?

  • SuperG September 10, 2019, 10:38 am

    The Orwellian nightmare has begun. It gives you a look into their mindset. Makes you wonder what else they’ve been up to, in “our” government, huh?

  • Dr Motown September 10, 2019, 7:54 am

    I can understand wanting to stop illegal exportation, but we could be looking at another Mueller-like investigation here that goes off the rails and entraps people in process crimes or unrelated activities. Will the gubbmint destroy the data once they\’ve found the export criminals? Or will they secretly stash it in a cloud somewhere as part of a registration net???

    • D.J. September 12, 2019, 11:06 am

      I believe you have a valid point , sir . I have long believed , yet have
      no proof , that the background check info. is not scrapped upon a valid
      purchase of a firearm .
      It just seems far too convenient for our ” trustworthy ” government
      to dismiss and dispose of a purchasers identity , address , record of
      military service , make , model , serial number of said weapon , criminal
      record or lack there of , & etc.
      We , in effect , are informing upon ourselves .
      5th ammendment , anyone ?

      • Scott Gunnell September 13, 2019, 4:56 am

        You know good and well they keep everything. It’s the government

        • Bob Dillard September 13, 2019, 6:42 am

          Probably true. But having worked in and around the feds for more than 40 years its more likely they’ve lost the data over time to inept management, poor records keeping, and a high turnover of personnel with wildly varying levels of competence.

          • Ti September 15, 2019, 2:37 pm

            We are now in the digital age. “What do you mean, Captain Obvious?”

            Analog has truly been “displaced”. I’m of the age of remembering vacuum tubes – almost completely GONE.

            With Artificial Intelligence, Data Mining, etc., the inept/mistake prone old style government paper records are there, but they haven’t been scanned yet.

            E. German Stazi(sp) kept scent libraries on it’s citizens before DNA.

            Not that I’m a fan of Oliver Stone, but the movie Snowden, demonstrates this action precisely.

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