We’re All Sons of the Patriots Now

Obligatory reference.

TrackingPoint is a company known for developing a $17,000 Linux powered scope. Now they’re moving into Internet enabled optics:

The company, which is here at CES Showstoppers, has just announced ShotView, an iOS and Google Play app that lets a hunter stream video from his or her gun to anyone in the world. And the press release is very clear about its place in the tech world:

“Hunting and shooting sports are now part of the Web fabric. With this new technology, friends and family are virtually transported and immersed in exotic and exciting hunts,” says Danielle Hambleton, TrackingPoint’s vice president of marketing. “Hunters can now share the thrill of the stalk and the excitement of victory in real-time.”

According to Cisco, more than 99 percent of things in the physical world are still not connected to the Internet. But, this new technology represents a giant leap forward for the firearms industry. “We wholeheartedly embrace Cisco’s vision for the Internet of Everything,” says Hambleton. “Our exceptional long-range hunting technology combined with Cisco’s foresight will vastly enrich the world of hunting and shooting sports.”

“Now that the firearm is networked, the sky is the limit,” says Vann Hasty, TrackingPoint’s vice president of engineering.

This is an interesting take on so-called smart guns. While the technology being discussed into integrated into the firearm itself it’s not hard to see that happening a few years down the line. After all, humans crave data. Why not include mechanisms to measure trigger pull, chamber pressure, barrel harmonics, etc.? That would give a far better experience to people watching your hunt via your optic. But then we get into the strange realm of security.

While I’m a fan of integrating technology and firearms my enthusiasm is curbed but the lackluster history of computer security we’ve experienced as a species. Internet enabling a firearm opens the door for potential remote attacks. Give the right electronics in a firearm it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that a firearm could be rendered disabled via remote Internet exploit. On a wide enough scale, such as the scale seen when exploits are used to create botnets, you could even render large percentages of weapons inert.

For you gamers out there this could eventually lead to system similar to Metal Gear Solid 4’s Sons of the Patriots (SoP). In the series, because of the magic of nanomachines, anybody who is able to gain control of SoP can disable most military hardware including small arms. It’s a pretty stupid premise as it is based on technomagic but as more military hardware becomes network enabled it isn’t unforeseeable that large chunks of a military could be disabled through remote hacks.

We live in an interesting world and it’s getting more interesting every day.