Outrage created by a Department of Justice (DOJ) application for a court order demanding Google and Apple provide names, numbers and personal information of anyone who downloaded a smartphone app for night vision optics has created “new users” who don’t own a program-cable scope. Total number of free downloads is unavailable on iTunes, and Google’s PlayStore simply lists it as more than 10,000, although a sampling of recent comments on the latter indicates the list will be artificially swollen when, or if, it is provided.
One user posted, “Installed specifically to dilute the pool of users. I don’t own a compatible firearm. Shame on this attempt to step over the 4th amendment.” Another wrote, “I downloaded this app, even though I don’t own a firearm or scope, to join the upcoming class action suit … .” A third indicated, “Don’t own a gun but just having this App installed might make me rich!”
Forbes magazine reported on Sept. 6 that the DOJ application is part of an investigation into exports of night vision in direct violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulation. The company that produces night-vision capable of running the app is not implicated.
The Forbes article includes a quote from the DOJ application to the court that reads, “This pattern of unlawful, attempted exports of this rifle scope in combination with the manner in which the [withheld] 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 DOJ application for a court order allegedly did not request the companies omit the names and personal information of United States app downloaders.