Obsidian 4 App – Why the Feds Want User Names

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The Obsidian 4 APP is used to connect cell phones to ATN rifle smart scopes to calibrate them, and allow live streaming and videos. A court order application filed on Thursday demands that Apple and Google turn over the over 10,000 plus names and identifying data of users. The release of the application by Forbes sent ripples through the 2nd amendment community. What is the government up to now? The court has not yet approved the application as of this writing.

obsidian 4 app
Screenshot via ATN with added cellphone picture

The company that created the app is American Technologies Network Corp (ATN), which is a specialist in night vision technology. The company is NOT under investigation. The DOJ is looking for whoever illegally exported the scopes to The Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Canada in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. ATN scopes were found in shipments to those countries.

Forbes reported

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…

...”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.”

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Forbes- who managed to get access to the document until it was hidden from public view

It was also alleged that the Taliban managed to get their hands on the ATN ThOR-HD, which is a thermal vision scope, according to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. Thermal vision picks up the heat radiating from a body. The ATN Thor-HD was designed for hunters, not military use. Obsidian 4 is also compatible with the #XSight4K, #ThOR4, #BinoX4K and #BinoX4T and can be used for both Android and Apple’s iOS phones.

ATN released a statement to American Military News:

“ATN has not been contacted by the Department of Justice, Apple, or Google. 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.” ATN

American Military News

Fishing expedition’ for Obsidian 4

The court application was to Google and Apple, not to American Technologies. The DOJ wants to know the information for all of the people who downloaded the app on Google Play and Apple. Apple does not disclose downloads, so likely the number is much higher than 10,000. The court application wants them to hand over not just the names, but their telephone numbers and IP addresses, which could be used to determine their locations.

Obsidian 4 is just one small part of a major investigation into those weapons export violations. But in this case the DOJ has requested something based, not on suspicion or reasonable cause, but on an overly broad request. It’s a dubious investigatory method. It will likely snag many innocent users of the app, and may not even snag the actual violators of the regulation.

“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… 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.” Tor Ekeland, Privacy Lawyer

The Obsidian 4 app connects the ATN smart scope to a cell phone. The government thinks they will snag the violators by getting access to the purchasers of the app, and learn when they were using the app.

It’s an unprecedented data grab by the government. The court should not sign the order, and the companies should decline to comply with it. The government has overstepped its bounds in the hunt for users of the Obsidian 4 app. Surprise.

H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children

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