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Friday, May 10, 2013

State Department attacks First and Second Amendments

Defense Distributed was instructed to take down the CAD files for the Liberator, a single-shot 3D printed plastic gun, by the US State Department:
Defense Distributed, the Texas-based nonprofit that wants to empower people to 3D print their own guns, has hit a bit of a legal snag. According to founder Cody Wilson, DEFCAD, the open source weapon-printing project powered by Defense Distributed, received a letter (embedded below) from the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Compliance, telling him to remove the blueprints of the Liberator, his 3D printed gun, from the web so that they may be reviewed by the department.

The group’s website currently has a red banner appended to the top that reads, “DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls.  Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”

“We got an official letter from the Secretary of State, telling me who they were, what their authority was under U.S. law and telling me they want to review these files to see if they’re class one munitions,” Mr. Wilson told Betabeat by phone. “That includes blueprints.”

In the letter, embedded below, the State Department says that Defense Distributed may have released data that is controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulation without getting prior authorization. This would put the company’s actions in conflict with–oh boy–the Arms Export Control Act.

“Please note that disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad, is considered an export,” reads the letter. It also says that until Defense Distributed has received the legal all-clear, the company “should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled. This means that all such data should be removed from public access immediately.”
Keep in mind, this is the very same State Department that sends tanks, jet fighters, and missiles to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.  But the freely distributed plans for a single-shot plastic pistol is somehow considered sufficient cause to justify violating the First and Second Amendments.

Forget Pirate Bay and the thousands of torrents that are already distributing the files, given that the zipfile is only 2 megs, it seems to me that a few patriotic virus programmers should be able to see that they are rapidly distributed to millions of computers around the world regardless of what the State Department has to say about it.

And if they think they've got problems now, just wait until home genetics become as accessible as 3D-printed firearms.  It will bring back the old fears of witchcraft; I can imagine that the unauthorized possession of another individual's hair and nail clippings, or at least a government employee's, will becomes a crime.

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66 Comments:

Anonymous VryeDenker May 10, 2013 5:04 AM  

One can get the blueprints for an AK47 after a relatively brief search on the internet. The plans were open sourced by mister Kalashnikov, so you're not even stealing.

Blogger JACIII May 10, 2013 5:14 AM  

I guess the world has forgotten the zipgun?

Blogger JACIII May 10, 2013 5:16 AM  

@Vry - My favorite AK is the one made from a shovel. Pictorial quickly located as well.

Anonymous p-dawg May 10, 2013 5:39 AM  

Streisand Effect.

Anonymous TJIC May 10, 2013 5:46 AM  

I understand the bureaucratic logic whereby an organization occasionally does something stupid or inane because that's the only way that it can be perceived as being consistent by key stakeholders.

...but I think we're long past the point where our government is ** mostly ** doing stupid and inane things.

I doubt that there's a single person out there who thinks that this crack down is a good or useful idea - I assume that every single person involved is a cynic who just feels the need to be perceived as doing the expected thing.

Burn it.

Burn it all to the ground.

Blogger locomotivebreath1901 May 10, 2013 6:12 AM  

Odd.

I thought the zeitgeist of these obama nitwits was 'internet freedom.'

Blogger Some dude May 10, 2013 6:17 AM  

This will be as effective as their treatment of PGP as "munitions"

Now for a question : what is the line?

A while back in the 70s there was a story of a bright kid that hit the books and figured out the number for critical mass, he published it in his college paper and the DOD promptly put a stop to it

I had a friend who was in grad school focusing on bio weapons, he figured out the formula for sarin or something like it, and brought it to his prof just to see if he got it right. Now he didn't publish it, but if he had, would we be obligated to shut that down?

Is there a line? If so where? And when do we know the line is broken?

Blogger Some dude May 10, 2013 6:18 AM  

This will be as effective as their treatment of PGP as "munitions"

Now for a question : what is the line?

A while back in the 70s there was a story of a bright kid that hit the books and figured out the number for critical mass, he published it in his college paper and the DOD promptly put a stop to it

I had a friend who was in grad school focusing on bio weapons, he figured out the formula for sarin or something like it, and brought it to his prof just to see if he got it right. Now he didn't publish it, but if he had, would we be obligated to shut that down?

Is there a line? If so where? And when do we know the line is broken?

Blogger James Dixon May 10, 2013 6:23 AM  

> I thought the zeitgeist of these obama nitwits was 'internet freedom.'

For them. Not for us.

Blogger tz May 10, 2013 6:41 AM  

History rhyming. Back in the late 1990's, we had PGP 5.0, and before that Phil Zimmerman was harassed over PGP2. Crypto was considered a munition. I was part of it, there is a faxable book with rfc2440 and my OpenPGP implementation - which has no crypto, since Eric A Young in Australia wrote SSLeay and I linked to it (it worked on the Palm Pilots).
I also did a one-page instant encryption proxy (https_proxy=localhost:8443) for lynx or netscape or anything else.

I never got notices but I layed low. This was before facebook and twitter.

What 'blueprints' go to china, mexico, or pakistan under 'free trade'?

But it is the department of state, not of citizens.

Anonymous Orville May 10, 2013 8:22 AM  

If this is the same guy I saw in a YouTube video a few weeks ago, he has also printed receivers and mags for AR-15s. In that video, he had a very high end printer, and when the printer company found out what he was using it for, they repo'd the printer even though he was paying for it.

Blogger Dan Hewitt May 10, 2013 8:37 AM  

Quite funny to see liberals and conservatives switch sides on the 3D-printed gun and WikiLeaks.

They’re all for freedom of information, but only if they like that information.

Anonymous paradox May 10, 2013 8:46 AM  

VryeDenker May 10, 2013 5:04 AM
One can get the blueprints for an AK47 after a relatively brief search on the internet. The plans were open sourced by mister Kalashnikov, so you're not even stealing.



Shotgun News Volume 59, Issue 27, dated October 3, 2005. Step by step instructions on how to make an AK-47 clone.

Anonymous George Orwell May 10, 2013 8:55 AM  

"No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?"

Anonymous Stilicho May 10, 2013 8:57 AM  

Can't stop the signal

Blogger IM2L844 May 10, 2013 9:10 AM  

just wait until home genetics become as accessible

DIY wereseals? Think of the children!

Anonymous 445supermag May 10, 2013 9:34 AM  

http://www.weaponsguild.com is full of people scratch building (and kit building/ re-mil-ing demilled kits) of every conceivable firearm.

Anonymous cheddarman May 10, 2013 9:38 AM  

"Keep in mind, this is the very same State Department that sends tanks, jet fighters, and missiles to Egypt, Saudi Arabia,"

and we are also arming islamic/Al-Qaeda radicals who are trying to take down the government of Syria. We armed or supported Al Qaeda affiliates who took down the government of Libya and killed our ambassador. At the same time, we are fighting (mostly dodging roadside bombs) their brethren in Afghanistan.

This makes a whole lot of sense.

sincerely

cheddarman

Anonymous Mr. Pea May 10, 2013 9:57 AM  

This makes a whole lot of sense.

See: It's all in the perspective

And the winners are?

Who are the losers?

Anonymous wcu May 10, 2013 10:24 AM  

Bad Alqeada-Iraq...Good Alkida-Libya...BAd Alqidia-YEmen...Good Alguida-Syria...did I crack the code yet, or do I need to keep mashing in this damn code in this underground bunker on a deserted purgatorish island so the world don't go boom?!

Anonymous Porky May 10, 2013 10:27 AM  

DISCLAIMER: NOT INTENDED FOR USE AS A WEAPON

Problem solved!

Blogger The Original George...or OG May 10, 2013 10:28 AM  

A determined enemy will learn how to make weapons. Tech has only made it easier and harder for the Government to track the results. They know we have other methods of making them despite this ham-handed effort and so this was just an opening salvo in the real conflict. The conflict of ideas. They are eventually going to have to shut down the internet or regulate it so severely it will be barely recognizable from its present form. In the near future some mind-numbed robot will use a 3D manufactured weapon to kill some schoolkids and that will lead to the shut down of the internet and a new law banning any weapons made in your garage.

Anonymous Steveo May 10, 2013 10:32 AM  

Has anyone found a way to print a 3D sandwich? Cause I'm thinking that Africa & the Mid East is gonna get really really really hungry, real soon.

Good news, Local health departments can use existing FDA regulation to control the info & confiscate the sammich h/w... AND
Muslims won't have to wash before printing a sammich.

Just Say'n

Anonymous Orion May 10, 2013 10:34 AM  

Weapon Shops of Isher comes to mind. With new technologies coming out it may not be so far fetched.

Anonymous dh May 10, 2013 11:05 AM  

My first reading of the applicable law makes this enforcement action seem likely to fail. The entire premise regards transferring the restricted information to foreign persons. There is no such restriction on distributing the information to US persons.

The Courts have long held that the Federal government has the sole authority to direct foreign policy, including trade policy and military policy. But none of that has any effect on domestic distribution of said information.

Blogger James Dixon May 10, 2013 11:05 AM  

> Has anyone found a way to print a 3D sandwich?

Yes. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/will-3d-printers-manufacture-your-meals-15265101

Anonymous Noah B. May 10, 2013 11:09 AM  

"My first reading of the applicable law makes this enforcement action seem likely to fail."

You are one hilarious goosestepper, dh.

Anonymous Porky May 10, 2013 11:09 AM  

dh: My first reading of the applicable law makes this enforcement action seem likely to fail.

Oh thank goodness!

Anonymous Alexander May 10, 2013 11:15 AM  

The inner workings of the statist mind... just when I thought there was nothing left to surprise me.

Anonymous patrick kelly May 10, 2013 11:19 AM  

IIRC someone printed up T-shirts with the core PGP code printed on it and encouraged others to wear them as "political speech" while travelling abroad. I don't remember the results.

Anonymous patrick kelly May 10, 2013 11:20 AM  

"> Has anyone found a way to print a 3D sandwich?

Yes. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/will-3d-printers-manufacture-your-meals-15265101"

Sure, but can you fax me a beer?

Anonymous scoobius dubious May 10, 2013 11:35 AM  

Since when does the FedGov think there are such things as "foreign persons"? Isn't everybody on earth, especially non-Christian non-whites, really just a pre-American, waiting for their green card, their amnesty, and their monkeyfare? The FedGov actively sues sovereign American states for trying to prevent the illegal importation of mooching shit-colored "foreign persons", then it turns around and says we can't do stuff on the goddam internet because "foreign persons" might find out about it? Like who, the fucking Chechen Murder Brothers who were on government welfare?

Just go ahead and turn the Washington Monument into a minaret. You know you WANT to.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 10, 2013 11:51 AM  

dh: "The entire premise regards transferring the restricted information to foreign persons. There is no such restriction on distributing the information to US persons."

Placing it on the Internet, where it is available to foreign persons, is why they are telling him to take it down. There is no way to restrict distribution to US citizens only, that way.

I suspect that making weapons -- or even plans for weapons -- freely available to citizens of countries where they are not allowed is ultimately at the heart of the matter, as a violation of some nonsense treaty. If so, the US should withdraw from said treaty.

Blogger James Dixon May 10, 2013 11:52 AM  

> Sure, but can you fax me a beer?

No, but my understanding is that the FSF is hard at work on both the PTP (pizza transfer protocol)and BTP (beer transfer protocol) specs. It'll probably involve some variant of RFC 1149 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1149.txt).

Anonymous JI May 10, 2013 11:58 AM  

So the State Department is claiming some bogus treaty takes precedence over the Constitution? Am I reading that correctly?

Anonymous DT May 10, 2013 12:03 PM  

My first reading of the applicable law makes this enforcement action seem likely to fail.

I'm sure Justice Roberts will get right on the job of defending our Constitutional rights as originally understood and defined by the framers.

Oh...wait....

Anonymous DT May 10, 2013 12:05 PM  

So the State Department is claiming some bogus treaty takes precedence over the Constitution? Am I reading that correctly?

At least they didn't call an order to remove information a new form of tax.

Anonymous DT May 10, 2013 12:09 PM  

Forget Pirate Bay and the thousands of torrents that are already distributing the files, given that the zipfile is only 2 megs, it seems to me that a few patriotic virus programmers should be able to see that they are rapidly distributed to millions of computers around the world regardless of what the State Department has to say about it.

If that happens won't the State Department have to send SWAT, guns a blazin', into every home where the virus is detected?

For the children of course.

Anonymous Porky May 10, 2013 12:13 PM  

Don't lose hope, dh. Maybe you can still regulate 3D printers.

Anonymous WinstonWebb May 10, 2013 12:18 PM  

This had to be done. Aside from arbitrary executions (which are coming if the "warrantless domestic terrrist assassination" policy is any indicator), FEAR is the last tool left in the FedGov's arsenal. They will continue to use it because it works.
See those pussies in Boston as Exhibit "A".

Anonymous HOLLA May 10, 2013 12:18 PM  

They once caught a kidnapper or something by tracing a watermark in the ink on his ransom note to a specific printer.

It doesn't seem unlikely that the gub'mints will simply force secret "watermarks" into 3D printers, regulate the materials used for printing, etc.

Maybe if you 3D print the 3D printers you'll be safe to make plastic blunderbusses, though.

Anonymous Porky May 10, 2013 12:23 PM  

Cuz imagine what'd happen if a terrist ever git ahold of a gun!

Anonymous Porky May 10, 2013 12:25 PM  

Maybe if you 3D print the 3D printers...

Done and done.

Anonymous Roundtine May 10, 2013 1:27 PM  

Synthetic Biology Explained

Blogger kurt9 May 10, 2013 2:00 PM  

Biotechnology and synthetic biology based on microfluific MEMS home instruments will be the next frontier in medicine. Biotech instrumentation and apparatus continues to improve at a Carlson's Curve like rate. I think it will be possible for home-based researchers working on shoe-string budgets to do major biomedical innovations, like gene therapy or curing aging, in the next 20 years. This is the reason why I am generally optimistic about life extension breakthroughs in the near future.

In a related matter, I don't understand why so many on the right seem hostile towards radical life extension. Radical life extension seems to fit in with the general notion of individual liberty and freedom from governments, as well as increased self-reliance. It seems to me that radical life extension compliments rather than conflicts with basic conservative principles. Hostility towards it on the part of conservatives is quite puzzling.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 10, 2013 2:20 PM  

JI: "So the State Department is claiming some bogus treaty takes precedence over the Constitution? Am I reading that correctly?"

Not precisely, no. The State Department is claiming jurisdiction over export of defense-related weapons and technologies, which they do have according to Public Law.

The supposition that it is related to one or more treaties is mine, and is only conjecture. But it would follow that if some of the weapon blueprints listed in the State Department letter fall under such a treaty, it exposes the US to de facto violations of said treaty.

Blogger RobertT May 10, 2013 2:23 PM  

Things are getting weird ... what with quantum leaps, photons and quantum vacuums and now printing your own gun, what's next? Alchemy? Throwing mountains into the ocean? Maybe SF is really VR.

Governments may become blase and insignificant for everything except sewer and other basic utilities. They may think they can keep this stuff under lids, but the technology boom is only going to make things harder and harder to control. What if the web is replaced by some kind of quantum thing you access through your tattoo? I don't even want to mention morphic resonancing. Can't wait to see what happens next week.

Blogger RobertT May 10, 2013 2:28 PM  

@JI @WaterBoy

"So the State Department is claiming some bogus treaty takes precedence over the Constitution? Am I reading that correctly?"

I may be wrong, I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I believe the constitution says the same thing. Treaties do override the constitution.

Blogger James Dixon May 10, 2013 2:32 PM  

> ...but I believe the constitution says the same thing. Treaties do override the constitution.

While that's one common interpretation of the treaties section of the Constitution, it doesn't actually say anything of the kind.

Anonymous Toolbox May 10, 2013 2:48 PM  

I think the confusion with treaties and the Constitution is that people think the rights enumerated by the Constitutional amendments were created by said document. Enumeration is, as stated in the Declaration, merely stating what already existed: inalienable rights, endowed by the very creator of humans. Those restrictions, therefore, are outside the Constitution and independently true.

Also, on a legislative interpretational note: if there is a conflict, the provisions later in time are presumed to control. It could be argued that treaties, just like the Constitution are restricted by the amendments to it.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 10, 2013 3:00 PM  

The President has the capability to make treaties according to the Constitution, yes. But that does not extend to allowing something which has been prohibited by the Constitution. For example, no treaty would allow Congress to pass laws infringing on the individual's right to bear arms.

In the case of Defense Distributed, FedGov is not saying they aren't allowed to make or possess these weapons. They're saying that publishing the blueprints in a form accessible to non-US citizens may be in violatation of US law, depending on the class of weapon. This is the same set of regulations that governs export of sensitive defense technology that applies to US defense contractors on almost everything they produce.

Anonymous Toolbox May 10, 2013 3:12 PM  

@ Waterboy:

ITAR and its related legislation concerning export of information is a violation of the 1st Amendment. When we bought that load of crap concerning "necessary" regulation of speech, we bought into a total trashing of the Constitution. In one regulation, they are trashing the 1st and 2nd because the effect is to not allow this information out to citizens of this country with which they could exercise their 2nd Amendment enumerated rights.

Anonymous Noah B. May 10, 2013 3:25 PM  

It's really funny to see how much the government is freaking out about this. Basically a gun constructed in this manner is a complete POS. I would be amazed if the thing even fired 10 rounds before it started shooting 1-yard groups at 10 yards. I'm not trashing plastic as an engineering material, but it isn't suitable for all applications, as our friends at Glock are well aware.

I'm not intimately familiar with this technology but I don't see techniques for printing hard & tough metals becoming affordable for hobbyists anytime soon.

Meanwhile, it's trivial to get enough parts and tools at Home Depot to make a zip gun that should be far better than this plastic POS.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 10, 2013 3:42 PM  

Toolbox: "ITAR and its related legislation concerning export of information is a violation of the 1st Amendment."

Yes it is, as is prohibition on the dissemination of information on how to build your own atomic bomb.

Toolbox: "When we bought that load of crap concerning "necessary" regulation of speech, we bought into a total trashing of the Constitution."

Here I disagree. Information which could be used against our own weapons systems, for example, should be controlled. That ITAR is too broad in coverage, I would agree.

Toolbox: "In one regulation, they are trashing the 1st and 2nd because the effect is to not allow this information out to citizens of this country with which they could exercise their 2nd Amendment enumerated rights."

You are not prohibited by this action from printing your own weapon (though I expect future Congressional action will). You can draw up your own blueprints, or even download the originals (they are still out there, you know).

Anonymous WaterBoy May 10, 2013 3:47 PM  

Noah B.: "It's really funny to see how much the government is freaking out about this. Basically a gun constructed in this manner is a complete POS."

That is why I originally suspected that it was tied to a treaty, somehow. It isn't the fact that it's a good gun, because it isn't (have you seen their video of the AK test where the receiver fell apart after six shots?)...it's simply that it's a gun, and may be downloaded in countries with which we have treaties against such a thing.

The other weapon-related products on the list would seem to support this supposition.

Anonymous WinstonWebb May 10, 2013 4:12 PM  

Whether the weapon is any good (and its probably not) is entirely irrelevant.
This is what is matters:
Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...

Not only is FedGov's attempt to suppress the transfer of information a quixotic quest that is doomed to failure, it's a violation of the very governing document that gives FedGov any authority whatsoever.

Anonymous Porky May 10, 2013 4:12 PM  

Waterboy: "...prohibition on the dissemination of information on how to build your own atomic bomb."

What prohibition? This info is readily available all over the internet.

Anonymous Toolbox May 10, 2013 4:38 PM  

@ Waterboy:

I would start by saying "reading comprehension" in regards to my last quoted statement. I stated the "effect" is to cool speech and gun rights.

As for the whole friggin' defense angle of ITAR, it's just a bunch of hooey. Information is not quite the king it's considered to be. Our fear of our enemies getting and using Government information against us is entirely due to our failure to maintain proper militias (the disarming of our populace has made us WEAK), and our international douchery propagated by that same government.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 10, 2013 4:40 PM  

Porky: "What prohibition? This info is readily available all over the internet."

Yes, it is. That doesn't mean that bits of it are still classified or otherwise regulated by FedGov (c.f., Wikileaks).

Nobody ever said that government made sense.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 10, 2013 4:48 PM  

Toolbox: "I would start by saying "reading comprehension" in regards to my last quoted statement. I stated the "effect" is to cool speech and gun rights."

And I would say you are being willfully obtuse, by claiming that losing one source of information is akin to losing all of them. The "effect", such as it is, does not affect you in the least -- it's an imposition on Defense Distributed's rights, not yours.

Look around, I'm sure you can find it if you try.

Toolbox: "As for the whole friggin' defense angle of ITAR, it's just a bunch of hooey."

Tell that to the guys who lost the drone to Iran.

Anonymous WinstonWebb May 10, 2013 4:58 PM  

The "effect", such as it is, does not affect you in the least -- it's an imposition on Defense Distributed's rights, not yours.

Oh. OK. So long as FedGov is only imposing on the rights of other people, mine are totally safe.
Sounds reasonable.

Anonymous Porky May 10, 2013 5:15 PM  

That doesn't mean that bits of it are still classified or otherwise regulated by FedGov

No. You don't need classified info to make one at home. Perhaps you'd need some classified info to make a megatonnage warhead that fits on an ICBM, but anybody can make a miniature fatman in their basement with info from the internet.

Govt. doesn't care about taking down those websites.

Anonymous WaterBoy May 10, 2013 5:18 PM  

Winston Webb: "Oh. OK. So long as FedGov is only imposing on the rights of other people, mine are totally safe.
Sounds reasonable.
"


Nope, not even close.

Toolbox' original claim was that the effect was to "not allow this information out to citizens of this country with which they could exercise their 2nd Amendment enumerated rights". He later tried to change that to "cool speech and gun rights". Both are wrong, as I demonstrated:

1. The information is still out there, and citizens are not prohibited from accessing it. The originating site was told to take it down, ostensibly to prevent it from going overseas (a crock, as we all know). If FedGov was intent on not allowing US citizens to have the information, they would be chasing down every single mirror, every single archive, every single bitstream on which these files are located, and they have not done so*. Even then, it would be a futile effort, and they know this.

* But I reserve the right to retract if they try to do so in the future.

2. This will not "cool speech and gun rights", either. As I already noted, the information is still out there, and we are not prohibited from using it. As I said, the only one whose rights were "cooled" is Defense Distributed -- and they are already subject to the same ITAR restrictions as every other US company whose free speech rights have been "cooled" for decades. Since they were already restricted, this action will have no more affect than what was already affected.

Anonymous tinlaw May 10, 2013 5:37 PM  

Having the effect of "cooling" the exercise of rights is exactly what is happening here. When the government cracks down on one person, others restrain themselves from doing the same act, even though it is a right, in order to avoid government confrontation.

Anonymous Mr. Pea May 10, 2013 9:15 PM  

I may be wrong, I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I believe the constitution says the same thing. Treaties do override the constitution.

Treaties do not override the constitution. Treaties MAY become the law of the land as long as it does NOT usurp the constitution, nor infringe upon your liberty.

And people wonder why we are, were we are.

Reminds me of some people who are trying to prevent the military from expanding on recreational land... short story, I reminded them of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17. And ingrains can't even get it.

Blogger Markku May 12, 2013 8:57 PM  

It should be obvious that they only took it down because they're afraid that the Chinese will conquer them with single-shot plastic pistols if they get their hands on the blueprints.

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