Only days after plans for the first workable 3D printed gun were made available to 3D printer owners, the US State Department has approached the gun designer, Defense Distributed, asking them to remove the plans, saying they represent a possible arms trafficking violation.
In a textbook case of technology outpacing legislation, the guns blueprints made it over to the world's file sharing site, the Pirate Bay and are still available. Indications are that the guns plans may have also spread to other file-sharing sites. A Pirate Bay spokesperson says they welcome the blueprints and have no intention of removing them.
The 3D printable gun design has attracted a significant amount of controversy, clocking up over 100,000 downloads within the first 48 hours of their release.
The US Department of State Office of Defense Trade Controls are however not amused, and have asked sites within their jurisdiction to remove the gun plans.
Their reach does not however extend to sites outside the US such as the Pirate Bay, and so it could be argued that the genie is now out of the bottle and it is far too late to put the cork back in, highlighting the futility of censorship in the digital age. The big question is just how lethal a mix are guns and technology?