“I think information will be free, and it wants to be.”
May 10, 2013
Yesterday, Infowars.com broke news that the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance (DTCC) Enforcement Division had issued a take down notice to Austin-based 3D gun printing company Defense Distributed declaring the group’s open distribution of 3D gun part files on the Internet potentially violated export laws explicit in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR.
The notice came just days after the group finally managed a fully-functional gun using mainly parts printed from a 3D printer, and aimed to have Defense Distributed take down the offending files and cite their “procedures for determining proper jurisdiction of technical data,” data which, at this point the DTCC says, could be in violation of § 127.1 of the ITAR.
Not Entirely Unexpected
In an interview with Infowars Nightly News, the group’s founder Cody Wilson explained the order was not at all unexpected, and that for months the group had been cautiously optimistic they would bypass the trade regulations, which they were fully aware of and believed they were in full compliance with.
“Back in December, when we started the project, we knew ITAR would be an issue,” Wilson told Infowars Nightly News. “As an arms manufacturer, we registered ITAR, but we thought since Defense Distributed would be a non-profit software company; we could not have to register for ITAR because we were just a software company and not interested in actual trade of arms, and then number 2, we could basically claim a public domain exemption from the ITAR and we wouldn’t have to ask permission to put the files up for download.”
Gun-related files, Wilson claims, are already regulated and must be permitted before they can be distributed online, but since the beginning, the group has tried to avoid asking government for permission, not to flout the laws, but because they believed they met public domain exemptions.
Indeed, early in the project’s development, Wilson explained to Infowars.com Defense Distributed would have to apply for a license with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because of the sketchy categorization of the firearms that could potentially be produced and the laws governing Title I and Title II weapons.
“We’re gonna have to do the license because that’s the world we live in, apparently. And I think that’s unfortunate and I think it’s silly. Maybe it’s not so silly because this is firearms we’re talking about. But look, this speaks to the attitude toward micro-entrepreneurs and the attitude towards ideas in general in this country. You can’t do anything without somebody’s permission. I believe that. You interested in the natural world? You want to do something with chemicals? People are gonna look at you like you’re suspect. Like you’re some kind of drug dealer. You can’t do anything of any consequence with any curiosity in this country without being weighed, measured, forced into some institution or system that ties to register everything. I’ll be in every database from now until the end of time because I was simply curious,” Wilson stated in October 2012.
According to Wilson, the fact that the DTCC cites specific pieces of the ITAR is an indication that they may plan to bring criminal prosecutions of civil penalties against the group.
“So it’s not a good day for the project, but it was expected, and we released, especially the Liberator, in such a good way that it’s definitely online forever and, especially with news of this censorship, I don’t think it will ever disappear. So that’s a success even if Defense Distributed or DefCad is somehow indefinitely shut down.”
Wilson says the group knew what they were up against long before the project even started by studying the case of Phil Zimmermann, the inventor of the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption program who in 1993 was under investigation by the United States Customs Service.
Similarly, in that case, law enforcement wanted to see if Zimmermann’s software violated federal arms-export laws because the technology could be considered a munition in that, being readily available online, it made it too difficult to determine what kinds of files, transactions and emails were being exchanged and what countries they came from and went to.
As was the case with Zimmermann, Wilson hoped the popularization and widespread distribution of his group’s gun files would lead the State Department to reconsider, if not altogether dump, an investigative effort.
“And to me, I understand that this software seems more closely related to guns so it might be a different case, but the parallels seemed pretty strong. At the end of the day, these are just bits, they’re not actual bombs.”
The frantic rush to regulate the data was no doubt accelerated by Defense Distributed’s recent successes – printable 30-round AR magazines and lower receivers that could withstand more than 650 rounds and of course their latest conquest, the single-shot pistol known as the Liberator.
3D Guns Have Gun Grabbers Shaking In Their Boots
Despite the fact that printing a gun is an incredibly inefficient way to produce one’s own firearm, lawmakers are already noticeably frightened by the prospect of a printable gun that could be readily available to the masses, more specifically to anyone with a 3D printer.
In December, NY Rep. Steve Israel (D-L.I.) called for the urgent renewal of legislation banning undetectable firearms set to expire at the end of this year. “With the advent of 3-D printers these guns are suddenly a real possibility, but the law Congress passed is set to expire next year. We should act now to give law enforcement authorities the power to stop the development of these weapons before they are as easy to come by as a Google search,” Rep. Israel stated in a press release on his House site.
Following the release and proliferation of the Liberator gun files Monday, notorious gun grabber Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), attempted to persuade people that “Now anyone, a terrorist, someone who is mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon, can essentially open a gun factory in their garage…it must be stopped.”
Another sign that government sought to regulate the industry came during Obama’s last State of the Union Address, where he announced the launch of “manufacturing hubs” where workers would “master the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make everything.”
Journalist Tony Cartalucci, writer for LandDestroyer, believed “Obama’s mention of 3D printing is akin to the buzzing of a parasitic mosquito’s wings before it lands, with its hungry, ever-searching proboscis preparing to bury itself inside its host and begin to feed.”
It should also be noted the DTCC mandate is in line with the United Nations International Arms Control Treaty which has attempted to regulate firearms by exploiting import-export laws. According to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the UN’s Small Arms Treaty “is in fact a massive, GLOBAL gun control scheme.”
Hope Is Not Lost For An Information Future Free Of Government Restriction
Ever the optimist, Wilson believes federal attention could be just what the group needed as it now forces the question of whether or not technologies like 3D printing and the Internet can really be effectively regulated and whether or not they should be.
“Perhaps this can be resolved, and perhaps this is exactly what this project needed to do to create, ‘Let’s have this conversation now.’ Is the future going to be one of managed information and control from bureaucracies saying who can shift information online and who can publish what? Or is it going to be one informed by distributed technologies like 3D printing and the Internet where most people can just pass information to each other uninhibited.”
As reported earlier in the week, just two days after files for the Liberator were uploaded, over 100,000 downloads ensued. They’ve since been seeded on torrent sites like Pirate Bay and Bit Torrent, growing that number exponentially and letting the toothpaste out of the tube so to speak. As it stands, it would be literally impossible to curtail sharing of the files, and even if government managed to take DefCad.org offline, it would now be in vain.
“I think information will be free, and it wants to be,” Wilson concluded.
Below is Alex Jones’ January interview with Defense Distributed’s Cody Wilson on the Infowars Nightly News.
On yesterday’s broadcast, Alex welcomed Defense Distributed’s Cody Wilson where he broke news that the State Department was coming after him