Government Pulls 3D Printed Gun From Defcad, Says It May Violate ITAR

By: Zach Walton - May 10, 2013

It was really only a matter of time.

The United States Department of Defense Trade Controls has demanded that Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed pull the blueprints for the first fully 3D printed gun from Defcad. Wanting to stay on the right side of the law, Wilson has complied. The following message, accompanied by the Department of State seal, is on the Liberator page at Defcad:

This file has been removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.

None of this is too surprising really. Alongside the Liberator, the government also requested that Wilson pull the blueprints for the other components that Defense Distributed has made over the past few months. The government will be examining the Liberator and the components to see if they comply with the ITAR, or International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

It’s not known when, or if, the files will be back up on Defcad. That being said, it’s not like the files have been completely removed from the Internet. That’s all but impossible. Over 100,000 people downloaded the file since going up earlier this week, and it’s already being hosted on a number of other Web sites, including The Pirate Bay. Those who want to download the blueprints will be able to do so regardless of any action taken by the government.

While we wait for the government to make its final say on whether The Liberator violates the ITAR, check out this partially 3D printed longbow:

[h/t: Forbes]
Zach Walton

About the Author

Zach WaltonZach Walton is a Writer for WebProNews. He specializes in gaming and technology. Follow him on Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Google+ +Zach Walton

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  • Ron – Chmer EDM

    Not sure it’s worth the risk to download the files after the government has been pulling them from wherever they are found! Either way I agree, this was inevitable. Someone was going to do it at one time or another just to satisfy their curiosity. If I knew how, I would’ve but then again I have no drive to, nor did I think of it until I saw the story. Either way, people will find weapons however possible so I’m not surprised by this at all and I’d tend to think people are over reacting as usual, but I can definitely see why it is a concern. Thanks for the read!

  • Loki

    What are the odds these threats based on ITAR are a malicious fraud designed to chill legal speech, noting there is a history of malicious ITAR prosecutions and successful defendants then claiming legal fees reimbursement and damages from our ever so jackbooted thuggish government? Not exactly a low cost or stress process for the victims of malicious prosecution, however.

    Are wholesalers running short of Risperdal (antipsychotic drug)? You’d think that with nearly 2,000 high bandwidth sites joining in telling off our State Dept in its efforts to squash Wikileaks and the distribution of evidence of War Crimes, Wars of Aggression, and the Crime of Genocide, still seeking legal enforcement, that even control freak nutcases in government might have learned a lesson, that information is meant to be free, and that chilling prior restraint and censorship extortion scams do result in more publicity for squashed information, than its creators could ever afford.

    If CAD plans are placed in the public domain, that appears to meet an exception in ITAR regulations, even if jackboot nutcases think in terms of excuses to squash protected speech, not honest obedience to the whole of legal standards.

    How many of us recall the silliness of ITAR use to create conflicts of law over Web browsers and disc encryption, or basic LAN/WAN modules? Information required to be strongly encrypted such as medical or financial, was subject to requiring “munitions” export licenses under pre-1997 ITAR delusions of grandeur. Novell used to offer the same software sold in the USA from a French center, but compiled supposedly in Europe, so as to not force international customers into seeking USA licenses to export munitions when installing network nodes outside the USA. If someone installed a Europe compiled copy of Netware and then carried a laptop into the USA, our guv’mint left it an ambiguous threat as to whether that used was subject to prosecution if they subsequently removed that computer from the USA, as if that’s international arms trafficking.

    Kim Dotcom clearly gives the US government all due respect, as even if DefCAD’s operator was intimidated into taking down links to files hosted on Mega, that New Zealand site continues to host the 460 mb full archive, and the 2 mb Liberator archive. The latter is also on Cloudfront, with short URL’s from places like Croatia showing what free speech means on an international level, when jackboots try to censor. It’s not just law student Cody Wilson who was intimidated into taking down direct links to those CAD drawings, but a Montana site that switched from mirroring actual files, to merely posting links to foreign mirrors. With a reported over 100,000 downloads, the US Dept of Delusions and Nutcases will kill off public access to that information any day now.

    I have a friend who’s on a long term US State Dept. foreign assignment. I’ve noticed that when that friend is in certain offices using the LAN, rather than more often on cel modem with either Android VOIP client or tethered to a laptop, the connection routes through a government portal contractor in Miami to AT&T US backbone. If we set up an ftp tunnel alongside IM and SIP/VOIP links, and I grabbed the disputed files from Cloudfront or Mega and sent the friend copies, with the identifiable path to me ending in AT&T’s handoff to State’s contractor in Miami, would that amount to an illegal act under ITAR, or would State be doing the exporting of the data within systems where my transfer was to them in Florida? Or, are the files public information now where any ITAR claims, are essentially a fraud to chill legal speech? Would it matter if someone else not associated with the US Dept of State temporarily used the friend’s computer to receive those files, via an encrypted tunnel over State contractor channels?

    That would obviously be technically silly, and purely an exercise in exploring absurdities of law or politics, as it’d be easier to just download the data from Mega or Cloudfront. Where are Cloudfront’s various servers, and how does one tell if they’re crossing verbotten or permitted national borders? (Who remembers MCI/Worldcom’s scam to route domestic voice calls via Canada to impose gouging tariffs otherwise banned, such that we can’t tell where dynamic routing goes?) Now, let’s consider the tenets of Common Law and US law, such as “void for vagueness”, where it cannot be a valid violation of law, criminal, civil, or regulatory, if bad legal construction or a reality that isn’t neat and precise for lawmakers, leaves it impossible for someone to tell in advance if particular actions are or are not lawful.

    One might also wonder, given the far better weapons most US ban list “enemies” already amass, does this project to chill protected speech even have a real military purpose? What if we consider that the US 2nd Amendment isn’t really about self defense or hunting as 9th Amendment rights the Founding Fathers never expected would turn controversial, but about “defense against all enemies, foreign and domestic”? That means corrupt politicians, ours or theirs, and the “diaper cleanings” Jefferson anticipated would be needed every 19 years. Since most US politicians have acted in ways that demonstrably qualify for use of RTKBA, under messy ambiguity of standards that potentially both conflict with and enforce Treason law, could the real intent here be to protect corrupt politicians and their operatives, to sustain power to actors who really are due to be removed from it?

    Another core standard of law, is that to be valid, a law must be capable of meeting its legislative justification goals, while yet another is that those must be valid within civil rights and other standards. Even if ITAR is seen as if being narrowly constructed and serving a compelling government interest (to trump the 1st Amendment under some conditions), rather than to protect Treasonous corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, the fact that there are over 100,000 copies of this particular information on public and private servers all over the world at present, would suggest the futility of pretending that ITAR could block access to legitimate military enemies of our government. As such, fail on that set of tests for valid law or its application.

    One more element of this messy set of issues that follow from doing a review of how fact and law relate to technical information or systems use, is that CAD plans for actual military arms systems are posted on a number of CAD sites, that may call for $20-100,000 of CNC or other small machine shop tools to build out. Why has Cody Wilson been made a target, and not those? One might again suspect political motives to chill protected speech by Wilson, for his outspoken positions, and to intimidate others from joining him, and NOT so much as real intent to enforce ITAR for any valid goals of ITAR.

    If the US government wishes to be respected as a valid champion of the rule of law, it must start obeying the whole of it, including when civil or human rights are inconvenient for officials. Thinly veiled frauds are treachery and criminal, even if difficult to enforce against well armed thugs.

  • Kevin

    Why? Because some one cant make money now that you can print your gun a home and not pay taxes?