A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘3D Printers’ tag

I Love Living in a Post Gun Control World

with one comment

I would like to take a moment to say that I really love living in a world where gun control is no longer enforceable:

Gun rights activist groups found a way around the temporary halting of 3D-printed gun blueprints by publishing another set of blueprints on a new website Tuesday, which they say is activity protected under the First Amendment.

“Through CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, we intend to encourage people to consider new and different aspects of our nation’s marketplace of ideas – even if some government officials disagree with our views or dislike our content – because information is code, code is free speech, and free speech is freedom,” reads a statement on the site, which was created by a variety of groups including the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the phrase, “temporarily halting.” Nothing was halted by that court ruling. All of the 3D printer files were available well before that court ruling was made and continued to remain available afterwards. That should have been the first sign that gun control can no longer be enforced. But seeing websites appear that overtly defy the court order should be a wake up call for everybody that gun control is dead.

The debate about gun control is over (it has actually been over for quite some time). Every organization and individual who is fighting for gun control is fighting a battle that they have already lost.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 2nd, 2018 at 11:00 am

Incoherent Screeching

with one comment

Shortly after Cody Wilson won his day in court the gun control crowd started screeching incoherently. Failing to understand the reality of the situation, which is their modus operandi, they started demanding that judges, politicians, and anybody else involved in the government stop the distribution of files for printing firearms on 3D prints. The latest futile attempt to stop Wilson was made by several attorneys and a federal judge in Seattle:

A federal judge in Seattle has issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns.

Eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government’s settlement with the company that makes the plans available online. They also sought a restraining order, arguing the 3D guns would be a safety risk.

A judge issued a restraining order? Oh no, whatever shall we do? I guess those 3D printer files are lost to the world now. Game over.

I wonder if these gun control fanatics are actually stupid enough to believe that. While a judge may issue a restraining order that prevents Defense Distributed, Wilson’s company, from offering the files they are still available via the most censorship resilient website on the Internet, The Pirate Bay. If you know anything about the history of The Pirate Bay, you know that there is no way in hell that any judged in the United States will get those files removed from that site. Even if they could do that, those files are being hosted by a number of people so anybody with the magnet link can still get the files. The genie is out of the bottle.

The Question to Stop 3D Guns

with one comment

You find some wonderful words of wisdom on Twitter:

If we don’t scream and yell, any person will be able to start printing 3D guns this Wednesday, August 1st.

As opposed to what we can print now, which are apparently only 2D guns!

Jeff sessions can stop this.

Oh, my sweet summer child.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 31st, 2018 at 10:00 am

Ineffective Screeching

with one comment

Everytown for Gun Safety is not happy about Cody Wilson’s recent court victory and have started a campaign asking its members to write Secretary Pompeo to encourage him to “stop the release of downloadable files that will allow people, including convicted felons and terrorists, to make untraceable guns on their 3D printers.”

Image courtesy of the Anarchopirateball Facebook page.

It’s fun watching a gun control organization screech ineffectively. There is literally no way that any government official can stop the release of something that has already been released. Cody Wilson didn’t sit on the files he used to print the original Liberator, he released them to the Internet and a lot of people, myself included, downloaded a copy. Even if Pompeo could issue a decree to make downloading and sharing the files illegal, it wouldn’t stop the file’s proliferation. As we’ve seen with other illegal content, namely pirated music and movies, laws have no power to stop illegal downloading. The battle against the spread of 3D printer files for firearms is a battle that cannot be won.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 26th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Cody Wilson: 1, Department of Justice: 0

without comments

When Cody Wilson demonstrated the futility of gun control once and for all but publishing specifications for a 3D printable handgun, the United States government was displeased. It didn’t like the idea that the language of the Second Amendment, namely the part that says “shall not be infringed,” might actually be enforceable by its subjects. In response to Wilson’s antics, the federal government tried to censor him. Wilson decided to sue on the argument that censoring 3D printer specifications was an infringement of his First Amendment rights. The Department of Justice (DoJ), the body of the government that tried to censor Wilson and got sued for its shenanigans, finally gave up:

Two months ago, the Department of Justice quietly offered Wilson a settlement to end a lawsuit he and a group of co-plaintiffs have pursued since 2015 against the United States government. Wilson and his team of lawyers focused their legal argument on a free speech claim: They pointed out that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information. By blurring the line between a gun and a digital file, Wilson had also successfully blurred the lines between the Second Amendment and the First.

“If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident,” Wilson explained to WIRED when he first launched the lawsuit in 2015. “So what if this code is a gun?”

The Department of Justice’s surprising settlement, confirmed in court documents earlier this month, essentially surrenders to that argument. It promises to change the export control rules surrounding any firearm below .50 caliber—with a few exceptions like fully automatic weapons and rare gun designs that use caseless ammunition—and move their regulation to the Commerce Department, which won’t try to police technical data about the guns posted on the public internet. In the meantime, it gives Wilson a unique license to publish data about those weapons anywhere he chooses.

Realistically, the DoJ had no choice by to relent. As soon as it tried to censor Wilson’s 3D printer designs, the Streisand effect kicked and ensured that the files were obtained by so many people that censorship became impossible. Beyond Wilson’s case, the DoJ was also fighting a losing battle because even if it managed to censor his designs, anybody with an Internet connection could upload their own designs. The DoJ is one agency that only has authority here in the United States. The Internet is a global communication network. The odds of a single agency winning against a global network are pretty much zilch.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 12th, 2018 at 11:00 am

The End of Enforceable Prohibitions

with one comment

I’m fond of pointing out to prohibitionists that the era of enforceable prohibitions is over:

In the very near future, governments will lose the ability to keep guns, drones, and other forbidden goods out of the hands of their subjects. They’ll also be rendered impotent to enforce trade and technology embargoes. Power is shifting from the state to individuals and small groups courtesy of additive manufacturing—aka 3D printing—technology.

Additive manufacturing is poised to revolutionize whole industries—destroying some jobs while creating new opportunities. That’s according to a recent report from the prestigious RAND Corporation, and there’s plenty of evidence to support the dynamic and “disruptive” view of the future that the report promises.

Throughout history power has ebbed and flowed. At times centralized authorities are able to wield their significant power to oppress the masses. At other times events weaken those centralized authorities and the average person once again finds themselves holding a great deal of power.

Technological advancements are quickly weakening the power of the centralized nation-states. Encryption technology is making their surveillance apparatus less effective. Cryptocurrencies are making it difficult for nation-states to monitor and block transactions. Manufacturing technology is allowing individuals to make increasingly complex objects from the comfort of their own homes. The Internet has made freely trading information so easy that censorship is quickly becoming impossible.

We live in exciting times.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 12th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Just Ban Bump Fire Stocks, That’ll Make Them Go Away

without comments

Politicians have been quick to descend on the corpse in Florida to push their gun control agenda. A flurry of gun control bills have been introduced throughout the United States. Many of these bills are a hodgepodge of restrictions that gun control advocates have been drooling over but have lacked the body count necessary to make a strong emotional appeal. One of these restrictions is a ban on bump fire stocks. Why would a ban on bump fire stocks be introduced after a shooting that didn’t involve a bump fire stock? Because there is a tragedy to exploit and everything on the wish list is introduced.

But a ban on bump fire stocks is meaningless at this point because anybody with a 3D printer can fabricate one:

My Google search of “3D printed bump fire stock” revealed exactly what I expected: a YouTube video of the test firing of a 3D printed bump-fire stock, which was posted by SilkyDionysus4 in April of this year. On October 10, 2017, gun rights advocate, The Jack News, published an article called “Here’s How to 3D Print Your Own Bump Stock Before Congress Bans Them. The article links to a collection of FOSSCAD digital blueprints for a variety of AR-15 parts, including a bump-fire stock.

We live in an age where firearm prohibitions are pointless. Although manufacturing firearms and firearm accessories has always been doable by anybody with a modest shop and a decent amount of knowledge, technology has advanced to the point where even individuals without a shop or a decent amount of knowledge can manufacturer firearms and firearm accessories. 3D printers can print up any number of firearm accessories. Products like the Ghost Gunner allow individuals to finish 80% receivers without any metal working skills.

And it’s not just firearms, prohibiting anything has become pointless. The same technology that enables individuals to easily manufacture firearms and firearm accessories also allows them to manufacturer almost anything else. I’ll reiterate once again that laws are irrelevant and the only thing keeping individuals safe the choice of other individuals to not to bring harm against them.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 28th, 2018 at 10:30 am

The Future is Bright

without comments

A writer at The Guardian, which seems to be primarily known for propagating left-wing statist propaganda, has shown a slight glimmer of understanding. While neoconservatives and neoliberals fight for power over other people, crypto-anarchists have been busy working in the shadows to develop technology that allows individuals to defend themselves from the State:

The rise of crypto-anarchism might be good news for individual users – and there are plenty working on ways of using this technology for decent social purposes – but it’s also bad news for governments. It’s not a direct path, but digital technology tends to empower the individual at the expense of the state. Police forces complain they can’t keep up with new forms of online crime, partly because of the spread of freely available encryption tools. Information of all types – secrets, copyright, creative content, illegal images – is becoming increasingly difficult to contain and control. The rash of ransomware is certainly going to get worse, exposing the fragility of our always connected systems. (It’s easily available to buy on the dark net, a network of hidden websites that are difficult to censor and accessed with an anonymous web browser.) Who knows where this might end. A representative from something called “Bitnation” explained to Parallel Polis how an entire nation could one day be provided online via an uncontrollable, uncensorable digital network, where groups of citizens could club together to privately commission public services. Bitnation’s founder, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, hopes Bitnation could one day replace the nation state and rid us of bureaucrats, creating “a world of a million competing digital nations”, as she later told me.

The biggest threat to statism is individual empowerment. While technology is a two-edged sword, serving both the State and individuals without concern for either’s morality, it is difficult to argue that it hasn’t greatly helped empower individuals.

A combination of Tor hidden services and cryptocurrencies have done a great deal to weaken the State’s drug war by establishing black markets where both buyers and sellers remain anonymous. Weakening the drug war is a significant blow to the State because it deprives it of slave labor (prisoners) and wealth (since the State can’t use civil forfeiture on property it can’t identify).

Tor, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), Signal, and many other practical implementations of encryption have marvelously disrupted the State’s surveillance apparatus. This also cuts into the State’s revenue since it cannot issue fines, taxes, or other charges on activities it is unaware of.

3D printers, although still in their infancy, are poised to weaken the State’s ability to restrict objects. For example, the State can’t prohibit the possession of firearms if people are able print them without the State’s knowledge.

But if the State disables the Internet all of these technologies fall apart, right? That would be the case if the Internet was a centralized thing that the State could disable. But the Internet is simply the largest network of interconnected networks. Even if the State shutdown every Internet Service Provide (ISP) in the world and cut all of undersea cables, the separated networks will merely have to be reconnected. That is where a technology like mesh networking could come into play. Guifi.net, for example, is a massive mesh network that spans Catalonia. According to the website, there are currently 33,191 operating nodes in the Guifi.net mesh. Shutting down that many nodes isn’t feasible, especially when they can be quickly replaced since individual nodes are usually cheap off-the-shelf Wi-Fi access points. Without the centralized Internet a span of interconnected mesh networks could reestablish global communications and there isn’t much the State could do about it.

Statism has waxed and waned throughout human history. I believe we’re at a tipping point where statism is beginning to wane and I believe advances in individual empowering technologies are what’s diminishing it. Voting won’t hinder the State. The Libertarian Party won’t hinder the State. Crypto-anarchists, on the other hand, have a proven track record of hindering the State and all signs point to them continuing to do so.

Illustrating Cryptographic Backdoors With Mechanical Backdoors

with one comment

A lot of people don’t understand the concept of cryptographic backdoors. This isn’t surprising because cryptography and security are very complex fields of study. But it does lead to a great deal of misunderstanding, especially amongst those who tend to trust what government agents say.

I’ve been asked by quite a few people why Apple doesn’t comply with the demands of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). They’ve fallen for the FBI’s claims that the compromised firmware would only be used on that single iPhone and Apple would be allowed to maintain total control over the firmware at all times. However, as Jonathan Zdziarski explained, the burden of forensic methodology would require the firmware to exchange hands several times:

Once the tool is ready, it must be tested and validated by a third party. In this case, it would be NIST/NIJ (which is where my own tools were validated). NIST has a mobile forensics testing and validation process by which Apple would need to provide a copy of the tool (which would have to work on all of their test devices) for NIST to verify.

[…]

If evidence from a device ever leads to a case in a court room, the defense attorney will (and should) request a copy of the tool to have independent third party verification performed, at which point the software will need to be made to work on another set of test devices. Apple will need to work with defense experts to instruct them on how to use the tool to provide predictable and consistent results.

If Apple creates what the FBI is demanding the firmware would almost certainly end up in the hands of NIST, the defense attorney, and another third party hired by the defense attorney to verify the firmware. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” With the firmware exchanging so many hands it will almost certainly end up leaked to the public.

After pointing this out a common followup question is, “So what? How much damage could this firmware cause?” To illustrate this I will use an example from the physical world.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worked with several lock manufacturers to create TSA recognized locks. These are special locks that TSA agents can bypass using master keys. To many this doesn’t sound bad. After all, the TSA tightly guards these master keys, right? Although I’m not familiar with the TSA’s internal policies regarding the management of their master keys I do know the key patterns were leaked to the Internet and 3D printer models were created shortly thereafter. And those models produce keys that work.

The keys were leaked, likely unintentionally, by a TSA agent posting a photograph of them online. With that single leak every TSA recognized lock was rendered entirely useless. Now anybody can obtain the keys to open any TSA recognized lock.

It only takes one person to leak a master key, either intentionally or unintentionally, to render every lock that key unlocks entirely useless. Leaking a compromised version of iOS could happen in many ways. The defendant’s attorney, who may not be well versed in proper security practices, could accidentally transfer the firmware to a third party in an unsecured manner. If that transfer is being monitored the person monitoring it would have a copy of the firmware. An employee of NIST could accidentally insert a USB drive with the firmware on it into an infected computer and unknowingly provide it to a malicious actor. Somebody working for the defendant’s third party verifier could intentionally leak a copy of the firmware. There are so many ways the firmware could make its way to the Internet that the question isn’t really a matter of if, but when.

Once the firmware is leaked to the Internet it would be available to anybody. While Apple could design the firmware to check the identity of the phone to guard against it working on any phone besides the one the FBI wants unlocked, it could be possible to spoof those identifies to make any iPhone 5C look like the one the FBI wants unlocked. It’s also possible that a method to disable a fully updated iPhone 5C’s signature verification will be found. If that happens a modified version of the compromised firmware, which would contain an invalid signature, that doesn’t check the phone’s identifiers could be installed.

The bottom line is that the mere existence of a compromised firmware, a master key if you will, puts every iPhone 5C at risk just as the existence of TSA master keys put everything secured with a TSA recognized lock at risk.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 10th, 2016 at 11:00 am

New South Wales Bans Possessing Knowledge

without comments

3D printers have ensured gun control laws will continue to become less enforceable. How can a government enforce a ban on something anybody can download a schematic for and print in their own home? It can’t. But that’s not going to stop the government of New South Wales from trying:

Possessing files that can be used to 3D print firearms will soon be illegal in New South Wales after new legislation, passed last week by state parliament, comes into effect.

Among the provisions of the Firearms and Weapons Prohibition Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (PDF) is an amendment to the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 stating that a person “must not possess a digital blueprint for the manufacture of a firearm on a 3D printer or on an electronic milling machine.”

The maximum penalty is 14 years’ jail.

The provision does not apply to any person with a licence to manufacture firearms or the police.

‘Possession’ is defined as “possession of a computer or data storage device holding or containing the blueprint or of a document in which the blueprint is recorded” or “control of the blueprint held in a computer that is in the possession of another person (whether the computer is in this jurisdiction or outside this jurisdiction)”.

Enforcing this would require knowing every file on every person’s computer and knowing every purchase every person has made. Even banning 3D printers or requiring they be registered wouldn’t make this law enforceable because schematics exist for 3D printers that can print 3D printer parts and be built at home.

With that said, this is yet another law that should encourage people to utilize strong cryptographic tools. Ensure every data storage device you possess is encrypted. Only access websites through encrypted connections. And use anonymity tools like Tor to download any potentially illegal data (which is all data). Laws against possessing information requires the authorities be capable of finding out whether or not you’ve learned something. So long as you can conceal that from them they cannot enforce such prohibitions.