Remember the 3D printed gun? The files needed to print one yourself were posted online, but it turns out they’ve been taken down because they violated international trade laws.
In a letter to the company’s founder, Cody Wilson, the State Department alleged that the Defense Distributed’s file-sharing service violated the terms of the Arms Export Control Act, and demanded that it take down 10 of its files, including the Liberator, within three weeks. [...]
The State Department contends that the sharing of firearm manufacturing information to IP addresses in different countries—the company’s servers are based in New Zealand—constitutes an “export” under the terms of the law. Wilson deleted the relevant files from DEFCAD and sent out a tweet announcing the decision.
3D printing is still in its infancy as of now, but in the near future there could be dire consequences for posting schematics for weapons online as the printers become ubiquitous.
As with any new technology, there is an immense amount of opportunity to use it for good, but there will always be someone who also intends to use it as a weapon.