As society becomes more technology driven, legal issues continue to arise around the world. From privacy to national security, technology develops at a rate the law simply cannot keep up with. In the United States, one of the biggest legal issues is how the new risks technology brings will interfere with our individual liberties.
Technologies like three-dimensional (“3D”) printing have transformed everything from lifesaving surgeries to gun manufacturing. This technology has led to a whole new way of communicating via computer coding, with the online open source movement leading innovation by allowing for the sharing and editing of files freely. The 3D movement has continued to grow, becoming more accessible to people everywhere.
When this movement was used to create 3D printing files that could be used to print three-dimensional functioning firearms, fear quickly spread and many called for government action. Laws restricting the sharing of 3D printing files in the name of national security and public safety have become more common and widely supported. Since 2013, the executive branch, Defense Distributed, and multiple states have been involved in a legal battle banning the free sharing of such files on the internet. These restrictions infringe on the First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech. Regardless of the content of a 3D printing file, attempts to protect the nation’s public safety and national security should also protect the Constitution by fostering the freedom to freely share information and innovation.
Sandra Sawan Lara,
The iTunes of Downloadable Guns: Firearms as a First Amendment Right,
Cath. U. J. L. & Tech
Available at: https://scholarship.law.edu/jlt/vol28/iss1/6
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