Well that was quick: The State Department has demanded that new blueprints for a fully 3-D-printed gun be taken offline just a week after they were posted. The Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance is forcing outspoken Second Amendment crusader Cody Wilson to remove the downloadable 3-D printer files from Defcad.org under expert laws known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
“Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with final [commodity jurisdiction] determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled,” reads a State Department order” (embedded at the bottom of this post).
The defiant gun developer isn’t going to fight the government in a blaze of glory, however. “We have to comply,” he told Forbes. It’s not exactly an empty surrender. The blueprints have already been downloaded 100,000 times and are being held by fellow digital renegade Kim Dotcom in his offshore New Zealand servers. For further insurance, the files have also been uploaded to the popular file-sharing network, the Pirate Bay (we can feel our anarchist readers getting goosebumps right now).
Just to make sure he’s an equal-opportunity offender, Wilson argues his activities are legit, because ITAR doesn’t apply to information sold in a library, and conveniently has his being sold in an undisclosed Austin, Texas, bookstore.
According to Forbes’ Andy Greenberg, Wilson sees parallels between his strife and the governments abandoned attempts at censoring military-grade encryption software. In the 1990s inventor Phil Zimmermann released software, PGP, so difficult to crack that it could have permitted malicious actors from hiding information from law enforcement. Wilson believes public pressure ultimately convinced the government to back off of Zimmermann.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the government has any actual power to prevent the propagation of 3-D gun blueprints.