Reading the Wired article on DC makes me want to reaffirm my intentions in writing. The articles leads the reader to believe that it was ‘illegal items that inspired the software’s creation in the first place’ and that contrary to that “his approach is one of non-involvement when it comes to the software’s end uses.”Its a real shame they did not pick up on the message delivered on my webpage for DC, the printed guns are not the issue I’m responding to, its the censoring of those files and potentially others, as well as harsh copyright profiteering and intimidating amounts of surveillance.
Internet censorship is a big problem, its become widespread and made legal across the world by new laws similar to the contested SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) that we recently all unanimously protested against. Unfortunately we allow the more controversial examples and language of ‘piracy’ (it could also be called P2P file-sharing) such as guns, child porn, and all the other things the vast majority of us would like to see erased from the world, to then blindly accept censoring. Today’s censored guns could be tomorrow’s censored or rights-managed humanitarian technologies and Harry Potter 3D fan-fic, who knows? Its best not to set an easy first defeat. 3D printed guns aren’t necessarily illegal in the US, but the US state department have by-passed that by cutting the supply at the source: our supposedly free and open Internet. The mickey-mouse remix I once had rejected by iMaterialise was for me a symbolic act of a company willing to define their own rule and judgement over copyrighted material, and same goes for Thingiverse for banning weapons. These conflicts should be resolved fairly in courts, not in the small print of T&Cs and closed-door boardroom meetings.
I believe 3D printing is a unique case where censoring online has repercussions in the physical world, by permitting the censoring of these files we are also permitting the censoring of our built environment.
So as much as I dislike guns, and other horrible things that scare us, I’m willing to make technologies that fight for online freedom as well as physical freedom. DC may not be the best technology to do so, but its helped start a discussion, so lets at least get the message right.