3D Printing

State Department Cracks Down on 3D Weapons for "Export Control" Violations


As Scott Shackford noted below, 3D weapons plans are a big hit. Too big for the State Department. Via Forbes:

On Thursday, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson received a letter from the State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance demanding that he take down the online blueprints for the 3D-printable "Liberator" handgun that his group released Monday, along with nine other 3D-printable firearms components hosted on the group's website Defcad.org, while it reviews the files for compliance with export control laws for weapons known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR. By uploading the weapons files to the Internet and allowing them to be downloaded abroad, the letter implies Wilson's high-tech gun group may have violated those export controls.

Wilson says he will comply with the order. But he points out that given the nature of the Internet, that doesn't mean it will be taken down off of all servers. In fact, it almost certainly won't mean that.

Despite taking down his files, Wilson doesn't see the government's attempts to censor the Liberator's blueprints as a defeat. On the contrary, Defense Distributed's radical libertarian and anarchist founder says he's been seeking to highlight exactly this issue, that a 3D-printable gun can't be stopped from spreading around the global Internet no matter what legal measures governments take. "This is the conversation I want," Wilson says. "Is this a workable regulatory regime? Can there be defense trade control in the era of the Internet and 3D printing?"

I wrote about the very interesting Mr. Wilson yesterday and in December.

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  1. Is Wilson looking at jail time from this? Federal prosecutors aren’t known to pass up a juicy opportunity.

    1. No.

      DCAD is the UDT team that just landed on the beach to prep it for the main amphibious invasion that’s just over the horizon.

      The Federal Govt are the well fed Japanese troops that have dug in to defend the island. Their commander has read his Sun Tzu and is not going to make the same mistake the Duke of Sung made.

      He is opening fire with a precious artillery battery in hopes of killing the UDT team without attracting devastating counterfire.

      And, if the Federal Judges have any fidelity to the law (doubtful in light of their deference to claims of national security and executive privilege), the artillery piece will be ineffective, and the counterfire will clear the island of artillery.

      1. Thanks, but can you put that in terms of the European Theatre instead?

        1. I would be more interested to hear it in terms of African tribal warfare pre colonialism.

          1. Click click click.

        2. France has surrendered.

          1. + 3 (Franco-Prussian, WWI, WWII)

            1. To be fair to the French, they did not surrender in WWI.

    2. In the words of noted statesman, Joe Biden, export compliance violations are a big fucking deal.

      Non-ITAR export compliance violations can mean jail time. So yeah, a prosecution for ITAR violations will be really problematic for Mr. Wilson.

      1. Seems like the 3d printer files can be translated to some human-readable format. At that point, print them out in a book, and export that.

        1. Exports of “Technical data” are banned under ITAR, so it doesn’t really matter what form the information comes in.

          “Data” can mean anything the government wants it to.

          1. IIRC, in the Zimmerman case, they were able to get an export license for the book, so it had already been exported when they asked for the source export license.

          2. It can. They make a special point to mention that “consulting can be an effective form of technology transfer.” In other words, a phone call can be an illegal export if you answer the wrong question to some untrusted wog.

      2. This is how I see it. I predict Mr. Wiiiiiilllsssoooooon will be facing, at minimum, some serious questioning in the next few weeks. I suggest he secure legal counsel.

    3. Is Reason going to host a copy?

  2. well it’s still on pirate bay if anyone is interested

    1. It’s on The Internet. Once something is on The Internet, it doesn’t come off.

      1. And attempts to remove something from The Internet usually result in that thing becoming more widespread and easier to get because publicity (of any kind) creates demand.

        1. Exhibit A: The goatse guy

          1. Every time I think I have finally deleted that particular memory from my own internal database, some ass online reminds me of it. I swear those neurons will never die!

        2. Sort of like cat urine on upholstery.

          1. Or you, for that matter.

      2. You can’t stop the signal, Mal.

  3. Hey, State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance – in Libertopia (or the USofA c.~18th/early19th century) you wouldn’t exist. But I get why you do. Because FYTW. I get that.

    Regardless – FUCK. YOU.

    Sending ideas via teh interwbZ is now….exporting. Hmmm. I always thought of “exporting” as sending actual, physical things somewhere – not a file or an email…a bunch of bytes in whatever form.

    Learn something every day. Unfortunately, in this case, nothing good. Have a shitty day, assholes.

    1. Sending ideas via teh interwbZ is now….exporting. Hmmm. I always thought of “exporting” as sending actual, physical things somewhere – not a file or an email…a bunch of bytes in whatever form.

      You’ve got a lot to learn about the state of export controls these days, boyo.

    2. I don’t know if it’s true today, but strong encryption algorithms were classified as munitions for export purposes back in the 90s.

      1. I don’t know if they’re still munitions, but there are so many categories under control that I’m betting they were reclassified. I know there are still laws against exporting.

        1. Now that’s good news. And it only took him 4 years…

          After four years and one regulatory change, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that software source code was speech protected by the First Amendment and that the government’s regulations preventing its publication were unconstitutional.

      2. Yep, been there, seen that, got the t-shirt.

        1. The t-shirt for accidentaly and unconscious ITAR violations ? I think someone should make one.

          At one point in my career I WAS a living, breathing, walking ITAR violation.

      3. Up until 2000 or so, I couldn’t download the strong encryption version of web browsers like IE. And MS and Apple had to bundle weak encryption with their international OS versions.

        1. If you were an American working for an American company carrying a laptop with the American version of Windows and Lotus Notes, you were technically in violation of ITAR regulations if you carried your laptop overseas.

          1. It got better than that. I worked at a place that made an encryption box using a german board with a malaysian DES chip. If the board broke, I couldn’t send it back for repair.

      4. All sorts of shit is classified as a munition for export purposes.

        For a while it was illegal for an American to sell a Sony Playstation manufactured in China, in China.

        1. High-performance computers đŸ˜‰

      5. Ashcroft for the Rs and Kerry for the Ds led the fight to get that changed in law.

    3. Shouting ideas across the US-Canadian border? EXPORTING!

      Throwing paper airplanes across the border with drawings on it? EXPORTING!

      Running guns to Mexican drug cartels? That’s not exporting if you’re wearing a badge.

    4. Here at my university we developed training on this Export Control stuff. Having a student from a ‘forbidden’ country while you lecture on certain kinds of material counts as ‘export’. Never mind giving someone a physical book. Most people have no idea the level of bureaucratic crap the Feds make ordinary people (counting university professors as somehow ordinary) deal with.

      1. As our annual export compliance training keeps telling us, shoelaces can be considered a munition for the purposes of ITAR under the proper circumstances.

        1. Where do shoelaces fit on the CCL? I must know!

  4. ITAR sucks. I hate when I have to deal with it for some of these projects not even close to advanced defense tech.

    1. Indeed. The company I work for has to be extra careful these days because they got nailed for a violation 10 years ago.

    2. Exporting sucks in general (and free trade agreements only seem to result in more paperwork). Somehow I made the mistake of knowing something about shipping and got stuck with the job of international shipping. I’m certainly no expert, so I await the day when they come and take me away for some odd ITAR violation or using out of date HT codes or something like that.

    3. The thing is regardless of what your project is virtually any technology can be turned into a weapon under the right circumstances.

      I mean look at a simple thing like canned food.

      It is the reason why Napoleon was able to conquer most of Europe. Because of it the french were able to keep 100,000+ man armies in the field for more than a few weeks at a time

  5. Does this mean exploded parts diagrams of various firearms violate the ITAR regs? Or would you have to include a shop manual for how to use a drill press to make it illegal?

    Am I wrong in thinking invoking ITAR violations in this case is a lot like a cop citing someone for “disorderly conduct”?

    1. “This includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions or documentation.”

      (ITAR 120.10(a)(1), defining “technical information”, from here (PDF).)

      So, yes, it would, if it was sufficient detailed to be “required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of defense articles.”

      (Where “defense articles”, per ITAR 120.1 specifically includes all firearms.)

      It’s insanely stupid that ITAR covers something as militarily-useless as a single-shot .380 pistol, but it does, by its very plain language, so it’s not quite the same as deciding that walking down the street is “disorderly conduct”.

      1. And how does this square with the first Amendment? I, mean I understand FYTW, but what is the twisted legal justification to fit under the First?

        1. You can say anything you want in the United States, but speaking to someone in another country doesn’t come with 1st Amendment protection?

          Actually, that is probably the case, given the “support for terrorism” regs.

          1. You got it. Especially if they are from N. Korea, Iran, Cuba and one other place I’ve forgotten.

          2. That’s crime-facilitating speech.

      2. I can go online right now and download plans for an M-16 from a server hosted in this country. I can also download every single technical manual for said rifle. If those people haven’t been nailed for ITAR, neither should DEFCAD.

        Selective prosecution FTW!

        1. anarcho-tyranny

      3. Yeah, but is a handgun a “defense article”?

        IIRC you can legally export handguns. They aren’t considered military weapons.

        1. I am sure there is long and involved licensing and export clearance process required for any given firearm is declared exportable.

    2. No. This is serious business.

    3. Good point. If the gun itself would be legal for export, I can’t see how the design for the gun would be illegal to export.

      And this was a basic handgun, not even an “assault” rifle.

      1. Cody has designed an undetectable assasins weapon (it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how to make this plastic dodad a threat to national security).

        1. You damn libertarians. Next thing you know they’ll be 3D printing nuclear weapons.


        2. Very patient bad guys are going to print out plastic guns and assassinate everyone in the US, one person at a time.

          Thank God the State Department stopped them in time.

          1. USG doesn’t give a shit about people killing ordinary Americans unless it affects election results. Killing VIPs is a bit of a problem, though.

  6. while it reviews the files for compliance with export control laws for weapons known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations

    “Find some way to stop this using ITAR!”

    “But ITAR wouldn’t apply to….”

    “I don’t care, find something!”

    1. Just above this post Sigivald explains how this is directly covered by ITAR. Don’t get me wrong, ITAR is dumb, but there’s nothing saying laws can’t be dumb.

      1. ……but there’s nothing saying laws can’t be dumb.

        Indeed….these days it’s practically mandatory.

      2. Ah, he posted that after I did.

      3. As Dickens wrote: The law is a ass.

  7. By uploading the weapons files to the Internet and allowing them to be downloaded abroad, the letter implies Wilson’s high-tech gun group may have violated those export controls.

    So their basic argument is that anything on the internet can conceivably violate international trade laws because it can’t be stopped at the border?

    That precedent won’t ever be abused.

    1. And yet they still search people’s laptops at customs. Because they can.

  8. Cat is out of the bag. Which is a weird expression anyway. Why would you put a cat in a bag? To drown the wretched thing? Who drowns perfectly good cats?

    My employer is an old hand in the laser toner industry and he got really excited about 3D printers. So excited that I get one to play with next week. Should this be my “test piece”. I could always make the owl figurine.

    1. Try putting a cat back into a bag once he knows what’s coming.

      1. Yeah, putting cat in a bag is a trick you can pull once per cat. After that, good luck. I suggest welding gloves.

        1. Depends on the bag. Some of them love paper grocery bags, and will use them as makeshift caves to hide in wait of whatever unwary game that comes by the kitchen.

      2. I have a cat that will get into pretty much any bag available.

        1. There’s always one. I had one who would let you pet his belly without mauling you. Like until you got tired of it.

        2. Your cat gets into the bag. Next time try putting your cat in the bag.

        3. My cat likes it in the bag.

          My dogs like the cat when it’s in the bag.

          It’s dogs, cats and bags all the way down.

    2. Just print a bag that already has a cat in it.

      1. But then you get into the extra cost of a multi-material printer, and you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

    3. “The cat is out of the bag” is (IIRC) related to the expression pig in a poke (bag, sack). Unscrupulous livestock vendors were said to place cats (low value) in bags and then misrepresent the merchandise as pigs (high value). When the customer opened the bag he was disappointed.

      Of course, anyone with any experience with cats knows that the ruckus they’d kick up would foil the ruse.

    4. “Cat is out of the bag. Which is a weird expression anyway. ”

      Once upon a time meat sellers would sell rabbits that were already dressed. They sold them in bags. Most people just paid the guy and took the bag and went home with it. Some unscrupulous butchers would sell cats instead of rabbits. Occasionally, some skeptical person would come along ( probably assholes like us ) and demand to open the bag and inspect the merchandise.

      If it was discovered to be a cat instead of a rabbit then ‘the cat was out of the bag’, and everyone would know that the butcher was a cheat.

      At least that is what I have been told. And NO, the rumors of me selling skinned cats as rabbits in my youth are not true. No way I would do something like that.

      1. I heard it came about when a cat got in a bag…

        …and then it got out.

    5. There is no such thing as a perfectly good cat. They are evil and will kill you in you sleep.

  9. In this case, by contrast, Wilson is literally an arms distributor.

    And the government hates competition.

    1. Amusing, but no.

      By which I mean he’s not competing with commercial arms sales – he’s being politically inconvenient in a completely different way.

  10. Way to validate the project, feds.

  11. So what exactly did he export? He put a computer file on his computer.

    Hey, Reason is now an exporter!

    1. If reason decided to post blueprints for making a gun with a 3D printer on their website, you can bet your ass the government would be up in theirs.

      1. What if I posted the recipe for chlorine gas in the commentarium?

        1. The commenters would make fun of you for not posting something more difficult?

          1. Then they’d really miss the point.

        2. ITAR Part 121, Category XIV.

          Does not include chlorine gas (as being too commonplace and well known to be something anyone would have a problem making already), so you’re good.

          Mustard agents and Lewisite, though, you’d have a problem.

          1. So basically, ITAR depends heavily on IP. If a weapon is easy to make or common, it isn’t covered. If making the weapon requires specific knowledge that is difficult to obtain, then it is covered.

            1. The guy who exports a design for a weapon with the appearance of a certain cartoon mouse…

      2. You can bet your ass I’d toss them another $50 for a shirt with the ‘r’ replaced by a Liberator.

      3. I have a feeling that if they wanted to they could come after Reason just for the picture of all the parts.

  12. Uh, oh. Looks like they’ve successfully removed digital weapons before.

    (Link NSFW.)

    1. “The porn video Weapons of ass destruction 4.avi was listed in the categories Group and Gangbang and is no longer available.”

    2. fyi redtube is virustown spelled backwards.

  13. I want to prime the national dialogue about the hackneyed usage of “starting a conversation”. Nobody walks into the spotlight expecting to converse with the world, whatever that would even mean. They have a point to make, a mark to leave; that’s what they want discussed. Their part in the ensuing “conversation” is already finished. Mr. Wilson wants the Barbara Streisand effect vis-a-vis printable hardware recognized. I doubt he’s expecting to change his mind about it.

    1. I think he’s having fun using their own inane language against them.

  14. Cody is getting exactly what he was after, quickly too. These clueless dickbags did precisely what DEFCAD wanted; now comes the fight just like the encryption fight of the 90s, should be epic watching the buffoons continue to not get it and fight an overwhelmingly losing battle. Damn I love technology.

    1. We are really, really lucky that statist shitheads tend to be morons. Really lucky.

      1. Poking at a idiot is one thing. Poking at a malicious idiot is another thing. Poking at a malicious idiot with qualified immunity is how you get killed.

      2. I don’t think they tend to be morons, its just that any small group of people (no matter how elite) will never be able to outsmart the entire rest of society. They can certainly live large in the attempt, though.

    2. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the fights for control that come from encryption and 3d printing. In the late 90’s, it seemed like it was going to come to a head really quickly, but then it backed off in the early 2000’s, to be mostly just about pirated music.

      Seems like with this, and it actually turning into a fight on exporting it, we might be getting back to this. Wouldn’t be shocked to see something else, like bitcoin, get drawn into this, too.

      1. Does anyone know how much processing power is currently dedicated to mining bitcoin? And how much would it cost for a malevolent entity (Congress, say) to buy enough processing power to rewrite the block history and ruin bitcoin?

    3. Might as well sweep away the beach.

      If seven maids with seven mops
      Swept it for half a year.
      Do you suppose
      , the Walrus said,
      That they could get it clear?
      I doubt it
      , said the Carpenter,
      And shed a bitter tear.

  15. Hopefully they are gonna take their sweet time about taking the files down while everyone scrambles to download a copy to post elsewhere on the internet.

    1. Because, you know, it takes TIME for one’s legal team to determine what course of action to take to comply with this order, and plan possible legal challenges.

    2. No. They take it down immediately. It shows good faith. Then they go and argue to the court that the Fed Gov is being ridiculous while they are upstanding law abiding citizens.

      In the meantime, third parties on the Internet continue to distribute the files and make a mockery of the Fed Gov’s efforts.

      1. Nevermind – posted that comment before I read the 100,000 downloads and on Pirate Bay blog post directly below.

        Seems like all the feds accomplished is to give Cody’s company a buttload of free publicity and piss off a lot of gun owners who vote.

  16. By the way, Hazel Meade wins the Cookie on this one.

    She called it yesterday. Exactly this.

    Despite taking down his files, Wilson doesn’t see the government’s attempts to censor the Liberator’s blueprints as a defeat.

    He will when he spends 10 years in courts fighting a prosecution like PGP guy did.

  17. I was waiting for this. I wondered how long it would be until they tried to take it down via ITAR like PGP in the ’90s.

  18. Oh, and never underestimate the government’s ability to regulate or ban something through sheer force of will.

  19. No one needs more than 100,000 downloads of a 3d printable gun.

  20. To summarize:

    Cody Wilson posted 3-D printer files which allow anyone with an appropriate printer to produce a functioning firearm and components for function firearms.

    Posting these in any publicly addressable website constitude export, period.

    As posted above, all kinds of firearms are covered by ITAR.

    So, it would appear then, the Mr. Wilson has actually violated ITAR regulations.

    He wanted to force a dialog on gun control in the United States, and he is now facing the possibility of a federal criminal trial that could result in a significant jail sentence.

    I wish him luck.

    1. This is how I see it. If the exact same thing happened to the guy who created PGP, I don’t see why this is different.

      Strong encyption = munition.

      Guy wrote software which did strong enctypion.

      Guy posted it to website.

      Posting it to website = export.

      Guy got prosecuted.

      1. Yeah, but Bernstein won and govt had to loosen the regs.

        1. When Bernstein was prosecuted, the sitting president didn’t claim the authority to arrest and detain any
          “terrorist” indefinitey without trial or access to legal representation. And the sitting president didn’t claim the authority to assasinate American citizens without due process.

          All the CIA/Military needs is one piece of questionable evidence that someone in the Middle East downloaded these files and Cody disappears.

          1. Good point. But he’ll have great legal representation. The Electronic Frontier Foundation will represent Wilson just like they did Bernstein.

            Why is everyone laughing?

            1. I think it’s quite possible they will, though. The EFF is pretty consistent on speech and information. I’m trying to ask them via their Facebook page, but am experiencing technical difficulties. I’ll update here if I can get an answer.

            2. I don’t have a response on this particular issue, but I did come across Guns want to be free: what happens when 3D printing and crypto-anarchy collide? :

              I remember being briefly surprised the first time I went to Def Con, the world’s largest hacker conference, after noticing a large number of attendees sporting pro-gun regalia on their backpacks, cars, and clothing. But in retrospect, the political common ground sometimes shared by hackers and Second Amendment enthusiasts seems like it should be obvious. The event has hosted (both officially and unofficially) a small “Def Con Shoot” gathering just outside of Las Vegas prior to each year’s festivities. And the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group with a strong presence at Def Con promotes a similar “Don’t Tread On Me” message with regard to digital rights and privacy.

              You can have my encryption keys when you pry them from my cold, dead hard drive.
              Joshua Kopstein
              Friday, April 12, 2013
              Article Link
              The Verge

              The EFF has always seemed closer to libertarians than the ACLU, I think there’s a pretty good chance they’ll weigh in favor of DefDist, though I don’t know if they’ll represent them if it comes to that.

              1. I think that as an organization they will support Wilson, but that some of their employees and affiliates will waver.

              2. Those Shoots are sometimes anything but small.

          2. No, Cody is now too high profile to be disappeared.

            The brilliance of this is it’s going to tie up a lot of government lawyers for a long time and accomplish nothing.

            1. The brilliance of this is it’s going to tie up a lot of government lawyers for a long time and accomplish nothing.

              It’s sad that this is the best case scenario.

        2. Berenstein won, after what, 10 years of being hounded?

      2. Yup

        I hope that Cody intentionly choose to risk a prosecution when he decided to publish the printer files.

        The PGP guy was eventually vindicated. But you got to have deep pockets to stay out of jail during the prosecution or be prepared to sit in a cell for a long time.

        1. He’s incredibly smart, a law student, and presumably in touch with some very good lawyers. I’m sure it was intentional.

          1. I know his background and I respect it. But lots of brilliant plans leave out seemingly obvious stuff. I fully expected this to degenerate into a national security versus 1st amendment fight. But I didn’t even think about ITAR until I read about it today. And I am pretty well versed in export compliance issues.

          2. Looks like he prepped for this exactly:

            “Wilson says that he’s excluded from the regulations under an exemption for non-profit public domain releases of technical files designed to create a safe harbor for research and other public interest activities. That exemption, he says, would require Defense Distributed’s files to be stored in a library or sold in a bookstore. Wilson argues that Internet access at a library should qualify under ITAR’s statutes, and says that the file has also been made available for sale in an Austin, Texas bookstore that he declined to name in order to protect the bookstore’s owner from scrutiny.”

      3. I think he was just investigated for several years, but never charged or prosecuted. So if this is no different, it should turn out OK for him.

  21. Sometimes I love people. A “Called-out comment” at the article:

    Dervrak 27 minutes ago

    Fear not, the busy beavers over at Freerepublic are busy dumping thousands of the files out on all the bit torrents as we speak?

    Cough Cough?DefDistDEFCADMEGAPACKV3.7 and LIBERATORGUNDEFDIST on emule or the bit torrent of your choice?

  22. He’s libertarian and anarchist?

    1. At the same time…

      1. Maybe he goes back and forth. That’s kind of what I do. When I’m feeling uncompromising and principled, I’m an anarchist. But sometimes I feel like being more practical, so I’m libertarian.

        1. Maybe he’s less than a minarchist, like, a nanarchist or something.

    2. Well, libertarians are anarchists, just ask any statist. Also: ROADZ, SOMALIA!!1!

  23. Two years? Holy cow!

    “A team of scientists at the University of Southern California believe they are two years away from creating a brain implant capable of generating memories within patients’ brains.

    The implications could be profound for medicine – and probably not horrific in a ‘Total Recall’ sort of way.

    If successful it could help victims of brain injuries and possibly Alzheimer’s with memory recall – and has the potential to help patients remember who they are.

    The implant will target the hippocampus, an area thought to be crucial in forming long-term memories.”


    1. Two years? Holy cow!

      It runs off cold fusion.

    2. But will I be able to use it to easily commit reams of data and entire books to memory?

    3. It actually happened six years ago but the implants automatically suppress any memory of their implantation.

    4. Warty, can I buy rights to some of your memories? You, too, Epi.

      1. They can buy Newman’s bunyan stories as replacement memories.

  24. If State Dept finds they violated ITAR, then Cody’s the plaintiff in a new case. Assume it goes the govt’s way, then the Supes will get the split between Wilson and Bernstein. The current court of progtards and tuffgai bootlickers make me pessimistic.

  25. Just curious, not asking for legal advice, blah blah blah:

    Is there anything illegal about a US citizen downloading the plans from one of the torrents? (in the unlikely case he gets caught)

    1. Is it specifically allowed?

      No? Then I think you have your answer.

    2. no

    3. Depends on your locality. Just don’t get caught hosting it. Put it on a flash drive and only use not connected to the internet if you are within the US.

      1. *If* I were to do it I’d connect to a VPN and maybe to Tor (possibly via Tails), create and mount a TrueCrypt volume on a flash drive, and download it to that.

    4. Downloading no.

      But torrents mean you are uploading as well. So if they decide distibuting the file is illegal, a participant who seeds a torrent would be breaking the law.

      It would be impractical to prosecute everyone doing it, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go after you legally.

      1. Good point.

        There are services that let you give them a torrent file’s URL or a magnet URL so they can download it on your behalf and provide an HTTP(S) download on your behalf.

        That might cover you, unless they argue that your relationship with them is no different from that with your ISP.

        Of course, unless you have payed for such a service via BitCoin (and used a wallet shuffler or whatever it’s called) it may indeed make it easier to track you down, should they try.

      2. “But torrents mean you are uploading as well.”

        Only if you choose to, and it’s to choose not to.

        1. *easy* to choose not to

      3. People should be torrenting with a VPN or some other privacy measure in general.

        1. Well, yeah, unless you’re just downloading a Linux ISO or something.

          1. Hell even for “legal” stuff, just to hide the traffic from your ISP so they don’t throttle you for it (yes I know it doesn’t hide that data is going in and out but some ISPs will throttle because of torrent traffic specifically).

    5. I just downloaded the 600 MB megapack of other things they modeled…on a campus computer through bittorent

      I’ll let you know in a few days

      1. It was for research!

    6. Is there anything illegal about a US citizen downloading the plans from one of the torrents? (in the unlikely case he gets caught)

      If I recall correctly there was a vague threat made about downloading any of the wikileaks documents….and I didn’t hear about a single person getting any grief for doing so.

  26. He may or may not have violated ITAR, but hey – information yearns to be free and since he already put it out on the intertoobs, it’s in the public domain for eternity. Too many people have already downloaded it, etc. NOTHING the feds can do.

    As Wilson says in the last paragraph of this article, he’s succeeded.

    1. Let’s hope his success doesn’t represent too great a personal sacrifice.

    2. But the design is faulty; it was merely a demonstration of a minimally functional arm. As the tech writer pointed out yesterday, it’s too inaccurate and unreliable to actually replace a real firearm.

      The idea was that the design could be improved, but that won’t affect the crappy design that you download today.

      1. It is a “real” firearm. The situations where it would be useful (one shot at close range) are a subportion of all the situations where a metal pistol would be useful, but it’s still real.

        It’s like a functioning “proof of concept” that can now be refined.

  27. What did I fucking tell you?
    All they have to do is classify 3-D printers as “dual-use”, and that will put an end to that.

    Someone needs to do an expose on how export control regulations are stifling innovation. The definition of what counts as dual-use technology has grown so expansive that it effectively amounts to a ban on US companies selling products that are too good.

    1. I’ll be accelerating my plans for purchasing a 3D printer.

    2. the plan wasn’t to compete with current gun manufacturers
      the plan was to give the citizens another way to protect themselves when gun-grabbing eventually happens

    3. Hey, there, cowpoke, I gave you mad props way up above.

      1. Yeah, thanks, although what I predicted wasn’t EXACTLY the same thing. I thought they would slap the export control on the strength properties of the plastic the printers could make. Or on certain types of printer that could make stronger plastics when printed (due to the grain the machine is capable of).

        Course, they could still do that…

  28. Anyone having trouble finding links to the info? I might be able to help. Should I just post them here, or only go through email?

  29. Sad thing is he could have “started a new conversation” by just producing the printed firearms and demonstrating their functionality, and reminding everyone that someone COULD post the designs online. He didn’t have to actually, post the designs.

    So this seems like an unforced error.

    1. I think it is all part of his plan. We’ll see how good of a plan is, but it all seems pretty deliberate.

      1. Hmmm, I don’t know. He’s got brass balls if this was his plan.

      2. There’s absolutely no way he didn’t see this coming. Regardless, the government should be weary with prosecution unless they want to make a martyr out of him and maybe break the camel’s back

    2. If I was him, I’d want them posted immediately. Less damage to be done to keep you from posting them.

      That, or post them encrypted everywhere with a a deadman’s switch to release the key if you don’t check in every so often.

      Telling government agents you’ve got something they want, and that you can release to the world seems like a good way to be put someplace you can’t release it.

      1. I don’t know how useful his design would be to the govt. Their access to weapons isn’t threatened by any laws.

        1. It’s not useful to them — stopping distribution of it would be useful to them.

          If it’s out there, there’s nothing they can do to you/threaten you with to stop distribution of it.

          If it’s only in your hard drive and safe deposit box, they can do plenty to keep you from distributing it.

    3. Tulpa, sometimes people don’t believe things until they actually happen.

      Also, this gives people a file upon which they can innovate, etc.

      1. I’m sure there are many gunsmiths out there who could produce superior designs for 3d printers if they had reason to. What sets this guy apart is the [bravery|foolishness] to make a spectacle of himself doing so.

        1. His whole point was never to compete with gun manufacturers. In fact on his old defcad page, he described it as a type of contingency plan when the price of something goes to infinity i.e. banned

  30. This may turn out to be a good test of the EFF’s true colors.

    1. So if they fail to take one case you think they should, that instantly negates the great work they’ve done on hundreds of other cases?

      1. Not necessarily, but it could call into question their consistency.

  31. Being a fan of Tim May et. al, I’m sure he’s also aware of Zimmerman’s trial over PGP. It sounds like he was expecting this:

    Back in December, Blink magazine asked Wilson what sort of interference he expects from the U.S. government. He answered:

    I expect any number of overreactions, censures, and hectoring. I expect to be enormously burdened, bothered, and threatened. But I will follow their petty rules where I am subject to their jurisdiction and threats of violence. And when they will no longer offer me shelter, I will go somewhere that does.

    They wouldn’t have spread it on the Pirate Bay otherwise


    The homepage of your defense dist project looks like a libertarian dream come true. There are Guns, DIY, Bitcoins, and band of libertarian supporters. It seems like only the drug legalization issue is missing.

    I think the drug issue is included by implication, really. The gun is a powerful analogue for any object or material good. The logic of the project extends to all aspects of human life. How can we use the Internet and productive capital to dis-intermediate State actors and expand free spheres of action? The entire market, even for currencies, should become black.

  32. Were I in Wilson’s shoes a year ago I would have set up a foreign corporation, taken my laptop on an extended offshore vacation, then drawn up and uploaded the design outside the US. ITAR would not have been a factor since the design process and distribution would have all happened outside US borders.

    I don’t really see the point of fighting the fed on this. Once the plans are out and distributed the point is made as far as I can tell.

    I have a plan in my mind that would take this design to the next level ? 3D printable, semi-auto, short barrel carbine.

    1. That’s what a lot of people did during the crypto wars. I, for one, respect him for calling the question. It’s a case worth litigating.

      1. Oh yeah, I respect the Hell out of Wilson. I just don’t know exactly what his point is for fighting the Feds on ITAR. All they have to do is convict him of any minor infraction which could carry a sentence of one year and his entire project dies there. Somebody else might pick it up from there but he is out of the race.

        1. …with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

          Perhaps he is imbued with the same spirit of righteous defiance that informed the men who signed this document.

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