Just like the Encryption Fights

Those of you who were around tech circles in the 90s probably remember this t-shirt. See more background on that fight here. Well, it would seem that history repeats itself. What’s even more ironic is that some of the folks involved in the cryptography struggle are now involved in the gun rights battle too.

When you really boil it down, gun control is a form of information control, in that the knowledge of firearms has been with man for more than 500 years. You could confiscate every gun on the planet tomorrow, and mankind would just make more, because we have the knowledge to do so. You could only eradicate guns by eradicating the information that goes into making them, and that’s difficult if not impossible to do.

What 3D printing and CNC has accomplished is to make the link between information and firearms much more direct. With ITAR getting involved in trying to stop the spread of the plans, it’s hard to argue we aren’t in a world where guns and information aren’t roughly the same thing. It’s readily apparent in human history that information control is perhaps one of the greatest follies practiced by rulers and governments, and that’s now what gun control essentially is becoming.

16 thoughts on “Just like the Encryption Fights”

  1. Isn’t it a censorship issue? The plans being out there are just info protected by the 1st Amendment.
    Even the manufacturing should be ok as long as its for yourself, and will never be transferred or sold…just like those 80% lowers that you buy and complete.
    Until you actually use the plan or program to manufacture its just info, like in a book.

    It sure is an interesting subject though…

    1. When it comes right down to it, I agree with you. Restricting information, in and of itself, in anathema to liberty. It’s the same as not allowing online Bibles, Torahs, or Qu’rans.

      That said, part of the issue is that the 3-D printer plans – which are quite literally technical data on firearms, and probably covered by ITAR – were posted freely on the Internet, and were downloaded a couple hundred thousand times by Internet users in other countries. It is now, no doubt, copied and hosted on foreign, internationally-available servers. The signal cannot be stopped, any more than a bell can be un-rung, but I fear the minds behind Defense Distributed will pay dearly for this. The current administration has not shown itself to be reasonable, rational, or lenient (retaliating against F&F and Benghazi whistleblowers, REALLY!?); I believe it will spare no expense in making an example out of DefDist and everyone involved.

  2. ITAR. Yeah…. I should have seen this happening.

    ITAR already considers a blueprint of widget type 43 to be just as export controled as an actual widget type 43. The question is enforcement, though I suppose the feds will get some scalps from DefDib and call Mission Accomplished.

    So from that perspective the First and Second are already linked.

    And yeah it is just like the perl RSA munitions thing.

    Ironic that fear of “scry furiners” is how this is being pushed.

  3. Hope he’s got a kickass lawyer available, and if not, those left coasters who go on about “information wants to be free” and “down with censorship” should start ponying up some cash for his defense.

    Hopefully ITAR will be pwned like they were over PGP.

  4. 540 seeders of defcad mega pack torrent on Pirate Bay.

    State Department be too late.

  5. Gosh, the State Department sure leaped into action over the new toy from Defense Distributed, didn’t they? Contrast that with their lack of interest over ITAR violations by the ATF in operation Fast and Furious. I guess imaginary guns are a greater threat than real guns.

  6. Yup, I have _that_ t-shirt. RSA in a few lines of PERL, complete with barcode form. Even had to get a “I won’t export this” note notarized.

    Awright, now then…how do I cram a 2MB file onto a t-shirt today?

    1. CTD:

      Just use the cad file to make a blue print, and put the blue print on a t-shirt.

      All a CAD file is is a digital blueprint.

        1. Reminds me of the DeCSS fight and the t-shirts that came out of that. Different legal context, but same idea in that information can’t be retracted once released.

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