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
Ben Snell's sculpture Dio was created by training a machine learning system on a corpus of 1,000+ sculptures, tweaked in some unspecified way by Snell, who then 3D printed a mold based on the final shape: he filled the mold with a resin impregnated with the computer that ran the algorithm, which Snell had ground […]
Daren Schwenke's 3D printed blooming rose embeds a capacitive touch sensor -- a magnetic wire -- in one of the leaves, which trips an Arduino-controlled actuator that changes the rose's lighting and causes the petals -- 3D printed and then shaped over a hot chandelier bulb -- to splay open or fold closed.
A Boston University team have developed an acoustic, 3D-printed metamaterial whose topology is such that it reflects 94% of human-audible sound; the researchers' demonstration involves inserting a ring of this stuff in a PVC pipe and blasting a speaker down one end: light and air emerges from the other end, but sound does not.
From your apartment door to your bike lock, it’s not uncommon to carry a number of different keys on your keyring, but that doesn’t make it any more bearable when you’re fussing to find the right one or deal with the infamous pocket bulge. The KeySmart Pro’s smart design cuts down on key clutter and […]
Happy DNA Day! April 25 is a day to recognize deoxyribonucleic acid – better known as the molecule that holds the code to our entire genetic makeup. What better way to celebrate than with a complete ancestry test that’s about more than just satisfying idle curiosity about your family tree? The lab techs at Vitagene use […]
For musicians, clubgoers or anyone in the thick of a loud environment, earplugs aren’t just an option. If you plan on keeping your hearing through sustained exposure to levels over 85 decibels (roughly the sound of a blender), they’re a must. The good news is, most earplugs will muffle the sound. The bad news is, […]