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Feds Attempt Massive Data Grab From Apple, Google as Apart of Gun Control Push

The Trump administration is going in the wrong direction on the 2nd Amendment.

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The federal government is requesting data from Apple and Google for users of a gun scope app, in an unprecedented power-grab that would violate the privacy rights of thousands of individuals as apart of a gun control crackdown by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Forbes broke the story earlier today. The DOJ filed an application for a court order on Thursday to obtain information regarding Obsidian 4, an app devised by American Technologies Network Corp (ATN) to modify gun scopes.

Obsidian 4 allows users to live stream, record video, and adjust their gun scope using an Android or IPhone device. It has over 10,000 users on Android, with the number of users being unknown on IPhone. The DOJ wants access to all of these records to investigate possible violations of federal weapons export rules.

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Privacy rights advocates believe that this move is unconstitutional and would set a dangerous precedent that could be used to profile law-abiding citizens.

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“Such orders need to be based on suspicion and be particularized—this is neither,” said Edin Omanovic, who runs Privacy International’s State Surveillance program, adding that the move is a sweep of “huge amounts of innocent people’s personal data.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is investigating multiple reports of illegal exports of the ATN’s scope and believes that having access to the data will allow them to see where it is being shipped. ICE is using their resources to enforce regulations under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), when those resources could be used to detain and deport illegal immigrants flooding across the U.S. southern border.

“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 DOJ order reads.

If the order is approved, Apple and Google would hand over users of the app and potentially their IP addresses and telephone numbers to authorities. While the DOJ and ICE may be well-intentioned, this type of infringement could be used to gain intelligence about lawful gun owners under a Democratic administration.

“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,” attorney and privacy rights advocate Tor Ekeland said.

“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.

Liberal-dominated San Francisco has already declared the National Rifle Association (NRA) to be a terrorist organization in a resolution passed earlier this week.

“The National Rifle Association spreads propaganda that misinforms and aims to deceive the public about the dangers of gun violence,” the resolution reads.

The Trump administration may be opening up Pandora’s Box with this overreaching move to enforce federal gun control regulations.

Big League Guns

In Republican-Controlled Wyoming, A Gun Rights Group is Now being Forced to Reveal its Donors

Violation of privacy.

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The Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office is cracking down on a pro-Second Amendment organization by forcing it to reveal its donors. This move was spurred by a campaign that Wyoming Gun Owners launched last summer in which it attacked a number of incumbent elected officials in races across the state.

In a letter that the office published on October 14, 2020 Wyoming Gun Owners allegedly did follow the state’s campaign finance law.

The organization pulled off a number victories by unseating incumbent lawmakers last summer and has released advertisement targeting various candidates in the elections on November 3, which includes Riverton Republican Ember Oakley and Democrat Britney Wallesch.

The pro-Second Amendment organization has been around Wyoming politics for some time and publicly disclosed that it is paying for advertisements. However, its lack of registry with the state as either a lobbying organization or a political action committee runs afoul of state guidelines.

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“The Secretary of State’s Office has reviewed the advertisements paid for by WYGO and determined that they are clearly electioneering communications,” the letter stated. “As such, WYGO failed to comply with the requirements set forth in Wyo. Stat. § 22-25-106(h).”

It wasn’t until a few months ago that the group’s activities have not been reported within the state government. The Wyoming government cannot initiate the investigation on electioneering activity allegations unless someone files a formal complaint.

An initial complaint was first reported by the Riverton Ranger newspaper earlier this month. It did not gather any further steam because it was lacking in evidence to support the allegations. Subsequently, a second complaint with proper documentation was filed with the state not too long after, which prompted the Secretary of State to take action.

Wyoming Gun Owners now has until November 4 to disclose the names of its donors or be slapped with a $500 fine.

If the group refuses to follow the state’s order, the case will then be kicked to the Wyoming Attorney General, according to secretary of state spokesperson Monique Meese.

“Then we take their advice about what to do going forward,” she stated.

State Senator Anthony Bouchard founded Wyoming Gun Owners almost a decade ago. Nowadays, it is run by various members of the Dorr Family, who operate a network of pro-gun organizations pushing for pro-Second Amendment policies.

Aaron Dorr, Wyoming Gun Owners’ executive director, has had public disputes with elected officials such as Senate Vice President Ogden Driskill, who has repeatedly criticized the organization’s tactics during the 2020 election cycle.

The pro-gun organization bolstered its reputation by killing a firearm reporting bill in 2019 sponsored by former Campbell County Sheriff and current State Representative Bill Pownall.  Wyoming Gun Owners ran ads supporting Bill Fortner, Pownall’s opponent. Throughout these ad blasts, Pownall was depicted as anti-gun. Fortner ended up winning in a landslide.

Such a case shows how even Republican governments will go out of their way to prop up incumbents and infringe on the privacy rights of organizations that wish to restore freedoms such as the Second Amendment. Just because politicians have an “R”s beside their name does not guarantee that they will protect individuals’ rights.

 

 

 

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