Monday, November 07, 2016

Is this "data" protected by the First Amendment or the Second Amendment?

Defense Distributed, of 3D-Printed Gun Fame, Requests Rehearing on Denial of Its Injunction Against the State Department for Crushing Its Free Speech Rights - Hit&Run :

 In September ..., a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a motion to enjoin the State Department from censoring the American organization Defense Distributed. The Department back in 2013 threatened them with prosecution for hosting computer files that instruct 3D printers to make a plastic pistol, one the company calls "The Liberator." Defense Distributed have since then complied with the department's demand.
The issue has to do with distribution of data files which provide specifications to construct a firearm ... or more specifically, it's components.

To the best of my knowledge, 'data' is not a weapon.  That the data might be plans to build a pistol is immaterial.
(Although I'm not a lawyer, that doesn't mean I don't understand that "Freedom of Speech" and "Freedom of the Press" extends to the distribution of technical data; patents notwithstanding.  You can get specifications of any patented object via a request to the U.S. Patent office.)

One would think that the State Department conflates 3D printing with a manual on how to build an atomic bomb.

Okay, that sounds silly.  But apparently that is the thinking over in the Swamps of D.C.

If you wish to construct an atom bomb, I can understand that Foggy Bottom would be interested.  Probably even 'concerned'.
 (Photo: Defense Distributed)

A cheezy looking pistol?  Not so much.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is the State Dept REALLY concerned about countries that want too, or do build nuke bombs. I wonder, N. Korea and Iran come to mind.

But 3D printing a plastic pistol, I can see where their heads might explode at the very idea.

Great Blog and research.