The US government has tried to apply its arms export control rules to 3D model files that describe firearms, and declare that publishing those files is the same thing as exporting guns, and is therefore prohibited. Whatever you think about 3D printed guns, love 'em or loathe 'em, that's a terrible way to deal with them.
Applying the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) rules to online publication of mathematical descriptions of 3D objects is effectively demanding that Americans get a license to publish from the government. Not just any license either: under ITAR, the government has no objective standards that it has to follow, nor any timeline for responding to petitions, nor any judicial oversight for its decisions.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a brief in Defense Distributed v. Department of State, tying the case to its seminal, twenty-year-old victory in Bernstein v US DoJ, which legalized the publication (and therefore the use) of effective cryptography, striking down the NSA's restrictions on its dissemination.
Whatever a legitimate export control regime may look like, it does not involve standardless, unreviewable censorship of all online publications describing entire ranges of technology that have civilian uses, and about which the public needs to be informed in order to evaluate and challenge our government's policy choices. The First Amendment does not prevent proportionate measures to prevent weapons from reaching those who would misuse them, but it does mean that the government cannot choose the quick-and-easy path of broadly criminalizing online speech and figuring out what speech it wants to allow when publishers go to the trouble of asking permission.
In 3-D Printing Case, "Code Is Speech" Faces New Challenges
NIH 3D Print Exchange was developed to allow for the distributed design, testing, approval, and sharing of scientifically-accurate models related to the biomedical sciences. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have created a COVID-19 supply chain response section on their website. Here, designers of PPE (personal protection equipment) and other necessary equipment related to […]
Forbes senior contributor, TJ McCue, has been keeping an updated list of various corporate and maker/makerspace initiatives to 3D print filter masks and face shields for healthcare workers.
The ever-clever and resourceful Danielle Baskin has created a site for the online coordination and distribution of DIY-produced filter masks, face shields and other PPE (personal protective equipment). In times of emergency, the CDC allows production for crisis capacity scenarios. Homemade supplies are an emergency supply for overwhelmed hospitals and we have to prepare right […]
If you’ve ever tried to shoot your own videos, you know the equipment costs to do it right can mount up quickly. Even if you’re fine with capturing video on your trusty smartphone, you still need a mount to keep your phone in place. And you’ll need a mic to augment your smartphone’s not so […]
“The whole point of a programming language is to get the most out of the computer and the developer…This is why I like Python so much…few Python developers write code that is difficult to pass on to another developer.” With so much in tech so inherently complicated, that comment from Thomas Hatch, CTO and co-founder […]
In baseball, utility players often stay employed almost exclusively because of their versatility, their ability to slide effortlessly into a variety of needed roles and remain productive. Your current tech setup doesn’t need to work any differently — except that tech items are usually created to fulfill just one purpose. But if you want a […]