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United States Censorship Government Build

DoD Descends On DEFCAD 496

First time accepted submitter He Who Has No Name writes "While the ATF appears to have no open objection to 3D printed firearms at this time, the Department of Defense apparently does. A short while ago, '#DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State' appeared on the group's site, and download links for files hosted there began to give users popups warning of the DoD takeover." Well, that didn't take long. Note: As of this writing, the site is returning an error, rather than the message above, but founder Cody Wilson has posted a similar message to twitter. At least the Commander in Chief is in town to deliver the message personally. Update: 05/09 21:17 GMT by T : Tweet aside, that should be Department of State, rather than Department of Defense, as many readers have pointed out. (Thanks!)
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DoD Descends On DEFCAD

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  • Well there ya go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:29PM (#43678983) Journal

    Glad to see that the first amendment is so inviolable...

  • by bfmorgan ( 839462 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:31PM (#43679011)
    These files have been available for a day and have propagated to many other sites. So much for control.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:32PM (#43679031)

      Yup, the internet as usual will treat censorship as damage and route around it.

      Not that I would ever use those plans, I prefer my guns to be a heck of a lot more safe to operate.

      • by He Who Has No Name ( 768306 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:39PM (#43679119)

        You know, you can always use printed parts to cast molds and pour aluminum parts from them (or even steel if you're brave).

        You could also bootstrap yourself a David Gingery lathe and turn a barrel from scrap steel if you wanted.

        Just saying.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:41PM (#43679155)

          I could, or I could just buy parts or a lathe like a normal person.

        • You know, you can always use printed parts to cast molds and pour aluminum parts from them (or even steel if you're brave).

          You could also bootstrap yourself a David Gingery lathe and turn a barrel from scrap steel if you wanted.

          Just saying.

          3d printing is a tad more complicated; the printed objects aren't solid, they can have intricate internal structures. To do it all from molds you basically need to machine every internal piece anyway, which would be easier if you didn't even bother to start with a 3d printed version in the first place (just start with designs for actual guns).

          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            He suggesting printing the parts then using those for lost cast metal casting.

            • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

              Note to self: experiment with a wax 3d printer 3d printer.

    • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:56PM (#43679337)

      The point isn't that DOD thinks the files are going to disappear, and it doesn't matter anyway since the purpose isn't to "disarm Americans" or "keep the files out of the hands of Americans" or some other utter garbage.

      There are treaties and various arms control export restrictions (ITAR) at stake, and US-based corporations or entities cannot provide arms in violation of these constructs. If this sort of thing is on the Pirate Bay or elsewhere, DOD trade control doesn't care.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

        What does this have to do with 'arms treaty exports'? As CAD files, absolutely nothing.

        This is CAD files, blueprints. Don't let them fool you: it very much is about controlling firearm dissemination.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Yes, it is about "controlling firearm dissemination"...for EXPORT. That's why the State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance is involved. If you've already made up your mind that the true motive relates somehow to American citizens in a country with as many privately owned firearms as people, no amount of logic or reason will change your mind.

  • We should control bullets and not guns.


    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      That would be pretty much impossible.
      Bullets are easy to make. You could try to control gun powder or primers though.

      I doubt either of those would work though.

      • Primers and powder aren't too hard to make either.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Not really, but slightly more challenging than casting wheel weights into bullets.

        • by jythie ( 914043 )
          Primers perhaps not, but high grade smokeless powder is non-trivial, and even shops with experienced people and good safety policies tend to blow up occasionally. A hobbiest could probably throw something together that would work in a gun that was expecting it, but making something that was safe and compatible with guns expecting modern black powder, while not undoable, is not exactly easy.
          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            You don't need high grade smokeless powder.
            Old fashioned black powder is fine. You can use it in handguns and many rifle cartridges. Modern guns would tolerate it fine. Many of what we consider modern cartridges were originally black powder. Gas operated semi-autos will be the only real problem. More cleaning would be needed of course, but again not a huge issue. Many modernish rounds are still corrosive, like all the old russian ammo.

            Not sure what you mean by modern black powder, all black powder is consid

  • wtf (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aryden ( 1872756 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:36PM (#43679071)
    The real question is, when did we give the DoD control over domestic actions? The constitution strictly prohibits the military from acting as a policing force on US soil. So, who the hell gave them the right to take down a domestic website?
    • by Zerth ( 26112 )

      Disseminating ITAR-controlled information will get you nailed unless you can prove that only US residents can access it. Same thing happened with early web browsers that had strong(for the time) encryption enabled.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        How is this primitive gun ITAR controlled?

        Would information about how to make a shotgun from surgical rubber tubing, a nail, gas pipe and caps be ITAR controlled?

        • ITAR is one of the most nebulous, subjective, overbroad laws currently on the books.

          You would be livid if you saw the full list of some of the ridiculous things that have been slapped with ITAR restrictions. Things like entertainment software (FS Flight Simulator), kids toys (explorer night vision goggles), and hiking equipment (various complex compasses and navigation aids that were allegedly too close to being useful for aiming mortars and artillery).

    • The real question is, when did we give the DoD control over domestic actions? The constitution strictly prohibits the military from acting as a policing force on US soil. So, who the hell gave them the right to take down a domestic website?

      It's the State Department's export controls rules that they are afoul of; it's unclear exactly how the DoD is involved, if at all.

    • Re:wtf (Score:5, Informative)

      by Darth Snowshoe ( 1434515 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:40PM (#43679139)

      ITAR. It's called ITAR.

    • Re:wtf (Score:4, Informative)

      by He Who Has No Name ( 768306 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:41PM (#43679151)

      It's actually (allegedly) the Department of State. DEFCAD got their bureaucracy wrong. Would be awesome to get the headline corrected.

      • It's actually (allegedly) the Department of State. DEFCAD got their bureaucracy wrong. Would be awesome to get the headline corrected.

        It was in Wilson's tweet that the "Department of Defense" came up, it's a fitting reminder that the subject of all this attention is a rather bitterly paranoid young man. Smart, no doubt; and driven. But a bit too paranoid for me to think of him as stable.

    • I think Timothy is having reading comprehension trouble again. TFA I read [forbes.com] says in the first two words of the bloody *headline* that it was the State Department, not DoD, who demanded the takedown. There's a big difference. The State Department has been in charge of export control regulations for a long time. You can check out the Wikipedia article on ITAR [wikipedia.org] for the history; a quick scan says these regulations have been in place since 1976.
      • by Aryden ( 1872756 )
        Makes sense, though when I try to view the article, I just get Forbes.com and a grey screen. Can't view the original article for some reason.
    • They were exporting weapons! Well, kind of -- programs that automatically create weapons when provided with a suitable 3D printer. So that probably comes under military export controls, like cryptography does in some places. I guess with the correct paperwork they could continue distributing these plans.

      • They were exporting weapons designs.

        I can assume the bureaucrats decided to shut this down now before it developed into a real industry that would compete with the current arms market.

        If they let something like this slide. A generous estimate is that 25 years down the road a large syndicate of weapons designers could be operating out of the U.S.

        Now I wonder how this applies to youtube videos on how to forge your own steel knives?

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        So if I tell you how to make a shotgun out of parts from homedepot is that ITAR controlled information?

        They were exporting speech, that is it. Just a set of instructions.

    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      The same way they have authority over physical arms exporters, they see it as being accessible from hostile states and thus it is an IP export. I would also not be surprised if some people there still see the modern internet as their network.
  • by Tiger Smile ( 78220 ) <jamesNO@SPAMdornan.com> on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:37PM (#43679089) Homepage

    Streisand Effect!

  • by ClayDowling ( 629804 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:39PM (#43679115) Homepage

    A couple of hours ago i downloaded and printed a design from that site. I also proved why this is a gigantic non-issue: getting a good print from a 3d printer is very involved. The machines need a lot of fiddling to get them working right. My magazine, which was supposed to be flat bottomed, had a distinctive curve to it that did not make for a good working part.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:48PM (#43679245) Homepage Journal

    Wasn't there something about due process in some document or other somewhere? Something about a warrant needed before the government can take action?

    I can understand taking action as part of the legal process - confiscating evidence as part of filing for criminal charges, for instance. But can the government simply act unilaterally with no oversight? Has it always been this way?

    Is it always "government does what it wants with no oversight, and the victim has to get the courts involved?"

    Seems like that might be a good change to be included in the next constitution.

  • Truly Absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:49PM (#43679253)
    There are plenty of parts of the world where they don't have electricity or indoor plumbing, but you can get a local gunsmith to bang out a good copy of an AK-47 (the skills of these guys w/ simple hand tools amazes me, even if I'm not always thrilled w/ their customers). But design files for a plastic zip gun threaten national security?
    • Well, I could see it being a problem simply because they are plastic. Think of all of the places where you have to pass through metal detectors for security. This "gun" will not set off a detector (unless the maker was kind enough to include the chunk of metal designed to set off detectors).

      Desperate people may not care that the gun isn't very safe or usable; all it takes is one bullet to assassinate someone, one bullet to kill somebody in a prison, one bullet to hijack a plane (maybe not quite doable o

  • by Grimbleton ( 1034446 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @04:52PM (#43679287)

    .... is now free of information on building a gun.

    http://www.amazon.com/Homemade-Guns-And-Ammo/dp/158160677X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368132669 [amazon.com]

    Oh hey

  • I absolutely do not think that this will end up being an ITAR restricted item. However, it does seem to provide politicians enough time to cram through some poorly thought out legislation creating an outright ban on them.

  • by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @05:06PM (#43679457) Homepage Journal

    ...to become a bit more ubiquitous before we start alarming politicians into making it illegal by using it to manufacture weapons?

    We don't want 3D printing to become "isn't that how people make plastic guns?" to the lay public. It's too important of a technology, and given how potentially disruptive it is to the business models of a lot of large companies with a shit ton of money, you can bet that people are already talking about how to get rid of it.

    So please, if you must design guns for 3D printers, keep the designs private until the public is familiar enough with the technology that they won't buy the alarmist "O NOES, GUNS" excuse that politicians will invariably use to keep people from buying 3D printers.

  • by He Who Has No Name ( 768306 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @05:52PM (#43679905)

    United States Department of State

    Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

    Offense of Defense Trade Controls Compliance

    May 08, 2013

    In reply letter to DTCC Case: 13-0001444

    [Cody Wilson's address redacted]

    Dear Mr. Wilson,

    The Department of State, Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, Enforcement Division (DTCC/END) is responsible for compliance with and civil enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2778) (AECA) and the AECA’s implementing regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 C.F.R. Parts 120-130) (ITAR). The AECA and the ITAR impose certain requirements and restrictions on the transfer of, and access to, controlled defense articles and related technical data designated by the United States Munitions List (USML) (22 C.F.R. Part 121).

    The DTCC/END is conducting a review of technical data made publicly available by Defense Distributed through its 3D printing website, DEFCAD.org, the majority of which appear to be related to items in Category I of the USML. Defense Distributed may have released ITAR-controlled technical data without the required prior authorization from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), a violation of the ITAR.

    Technical data regulated under the ITAR refers to information required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of defense articles, including information in the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions or documentation. For a complete definition of technical data, see 120.10 of the ITAR. Pursuant to 127.1 of the ITAR, it is unlawful to export any defense article or technical data for which a license or written approval is required without first obtaining the required authorization from the DDTC. Please note that disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or tranferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad, is considered an export under 120.17 of the ITAR.

    The Department believes Defense Distributed may not have established the proper jurisdiction of the subject technical data. To resolve this matter officially, we request that Defense Distributed submit Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) determination requests for the following selection of data files available on DEFCAD.org, and any other technical data for which Defense Distributed is unable to determine proper jurisdiction:

    1.Defense Distributed Liberator pistol

    2..22 electric

    3.125mm BK-14M high-explosive anti-tank warhead

    4.5.56/.223 muzzle brake

    5.Springfield XD-40 tactical slide assembly

    6.Sound Moderator – slip on

    7.“The Dirty Diane” 1/2-28 to 3/4-16 STP S3600 oil filter silencer adapter

    8.12 gauge to .22 CB sub-caliber insert

    9.Voltlock electronic black powder system

    10.VZ-58 sight

    DTCC/END requests that Defense Distributed submits its CJ requests within three weeks of the receipt of this letter and notify this office of the final CJ determinations. All CJ requests must be submitted electronically through an online application using the DS-4076 Commodity Jurisdiction Request Form. The form, guidance for submitting CJ requests, and other relevant information such as a copy of the ITAR can be found on DDTC’s website at http://www.pmddtc.state.gov./ [pmddtc.state.gov]

    Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with the final CJ determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled. This means that all such data shoudl be removed form public access immediately. Defense Distributed should also review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any additional data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.

    Additionally, DTCC/END requests information about the procedures Defense Distributed follows to determine the classification of its technical data, to include aforementioned technical data files. We ask that you provide your procedures for determining proper jurisdiction of technical data within 30 days of the date of this letter to Ms. Bridget Van Buren, Compliance Specialist, Enforcement Division, at the address below.

    Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance

    PM/DTCC, SA-1, Room L132

    2401 E Street, NW

    Washington, DC 20522

    Phone 202-663-3323

    We appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please note our reference number in any future correspondence.


    Glenn E. Smith

    Chief, Enforcement Division

  • by Fencepost ( 107992 ) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @07:28PM (#43680721) Journal
    I know that you're all young whippersnappers who should get off my damn lawn, but does nobody remember the RSA Perl T-Shirts from Joel Furr from back in 1995? Yeah, yeah, most of you weren't out of kindergarten, whatever.

    Basically, the shirts had RSA as implemented in 3 lines of unreadable-even-for-perl code, which at the time was illegal to export in machine-readable format (Thanks, ITAR!). I believe there were multiple variations, including barcode versions for extra-crunchy machine-readability and at least one person who attempted to turn himself into a munition by getting it tattooed on. Later on there was a similar movement around DeCSS (not "munitions" related); I still have at least one of the shirts from that.

    Seems to me that this is pretty clearly in the same general category.

    Oh, and "damn kids"

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer