Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of Users Of A App

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RTH10260
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Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of Users Of A App

#1

Post by RTH10260 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:52 am

Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of 10,000+ Users Of A Gun Scope App

Thomas Brewster Forbes Staff
Cybersecurity

Own a rifle? Got a scope to go with it? The U.S. government might soon know who you are, where you live and how to reach you.

That’s because the government wants Apple and Google to hand over names, phone numbers and other identifying data of at least 10,000 users of a single gun scope app, Forbes has discovered. It’s an unprecedented move: Never before has a case been disclosed in which American investigators demanded personal data of users of a single app from Apple and Google. And never has an order been made public where the feds have asked the Silicon Valley giants for info on so many thousands of people in one go.

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.

If the court approves the demand, and Apple and Google decide to hand over the information, it could include data on thousands of people who have nothing to do with the crimes being investigated, privacy activists warned. Edin Omanovic, lead on Privacy International's State Surveillance program, said it would set a dangerous precedent and scoop up “huge amounts of innocent people’s personal data.”


https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrew ... scope-app/

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Re: Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of Users Of A App

#2

Post by fierceredpanda » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:09 pm

Um, why exactly does the government want that information?
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Re: Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of Users Of A App

#3

Post by Maybenaut » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:14 pm

fierceredpanda wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:09 pm
Um, why exactly does the government want that information?
According to the article,
Forbes wrote: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.

“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,” the government order reads. (The order was supposed to have been sealed, but Forbes obtained it before the document was hidden from public view.) There's no clear stipulation on the government's side to limit this to countries outside of America, though that limitation could be put in place.
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Re: Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of Users Of A App

#4

Post by Somerset » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:22 pm

Maybenaut wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:14 pm
fierceredpanda wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:09 pm
Um, why exactly does the government want that information?
According to the article,
Forbes wrote: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.

“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,” the government order reads. (The order was supposed to have been sealed, but Forbes obtained it before the document was hidden from public view.) There's no clear stipulation on the government's side to limit this to countries outside of America, though that limitation could be put in place.
This is going to be interesting.

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Re: Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of Users Of A App

#5

Post by fierceredpanda » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:28 pm

So, in order to catch maybe a handful of ITAR violations, it is necessary to surrender the user data of tens of thousands of Americans to a government that has proved itself serially unable to keep any such data secure? How about no? (I speak as someone who was victimized by the OPM data breach a few years back.)

Either stipulate to limits on the information sought or go away.

Also: Let's suppose, hypothetically, they do find out that end users in the Netherlands are illegally importing the scope. So they provide that information to the authorities in the Netherlands, who might well also tell them to go away, because the evidence would have arguably been obtained in violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which spells out extremely broad privacy rights, and I'm pretty sure European governments are no fans of the current Department of Justice.

It's a fishing expedition.
"There's no play here. There's no angle. There's no champagne room. I'm not a miracle worker, I'm a janitor. The math on this is simple; the smaller the mess, the easier it is for me to clean up." -Michael Clayton

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Re: Feds Demand Apple And Google Hand Over Names Of Users Of A App

#6

Post by RTH10260 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:38 pm

Somerset wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:22 pm
► Show Spoiler
This is going to be interesting.
Yes, cause the accounts on Google Play and the Apple App Store are fairly anonymous. The best the Feds can be assured is in which country the apps have been doanloaded to. And, if there are bad guys with foresight, they will use an anonymous mail address together with a cheap throwaway device with wifi only access hidden behind a vpn connection. Download the app once and distribute the APK file (for Androids) by other means to bad guy users. Install directly from app file and not thru the official store.

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