April 12, 2013

Maurice Williamson, Minister of Customs in New Zealand told Radio NZ this morning, that he is "very afraid" about what 3D printers will do to border security.

(Maurice Williamson, Minister of Customs in New Zealand | Wikipedia)

Mr Williams says desktop 3D printers are likely to be able to produce drugs and weapons in just a few years, and that will make the country's borders extremely vulnerable.

In recent years a variety of objects such as shoes, glasses, toys and robots are produced using 3D printing. Cody R. Wilson, a 25-year-old University of Texas law student has figured out how to print a semi-automatic rifle from the comfort of his own home. Now he's putting all the information online so that others will join him.

It is clearly the 3D-printed gun movement is something that doesn't fit into the current legal framework. As 3D printing is set to boom, Mr. Williamson believes the the potential of 3D printing is virtually limitless. He says "we are about to undergo a revolution that will change the very existence of mankind beyond anyone's wildest imaginations."

Although he is excited about what 3D printers will allow New Zealanders to do and expects the printers will become as common as PCs, he is extremely worried about what the rise of 3D printers would affect border protection.

"If people could print off ... sheets of Ecstasy tablets at the party they're at at that time, that just completely takes away our border protection role in its known sense."

"I've asked everyone in customs to start thinking about what a new world of 3D printing will mean for us".

Listen to this 4 minute piece from Radio New Zealand National, "3D Printers pose a threat to border security"

It is always positive that people in government are aware of 3D printing and its impact. What do you think of the potential of 3D printing? Is it more of a threat or an opportunity?



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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don;t regulate new technologies wrote at 4/13/2013 10:47:41 AM:

Every technology brings fears and hopes. History tells us that humankind benefits more from opportunities of new technology than it suffers from its risks. The technology of the printing press was regulated for fear that people would print bad thought (i.e. non christian thoughts) - today this seems silly. in the 20th century the US government regulated encryption technology for fear it would be used to hide bad stuff - today I'm glad my banking transactions are encrypted. The internet is one of the first technologies that was not regulated. The result is that it brought benefits faster to more people than any other technology before that. Unregulated technology is better than regulated technology. 3D printing has the potential to unleash our DIY potential. We will see Kiwis build new medical devices that save lives, safer tools and many many other innovations that will make our world better. We could even transform our economy into the best digital 3D economy in the world, lifting up standards of living in all our communities. Yes, guns and other bad stuff will be printed in small quantities but it does not mean the whole technology should be regulated. After all, printed or not, firearms still need to be licensed.

Wes wrote at 4/13/2013 1:20:02 AM:

Yes, gotta love people twisting things. I am going to print a gear shift handle and have news about a person that printed their own working car and will put the whole industry at risk. LOL. So tired of people saying that you can print out a working gun.

Ludwig the informed gun nut wrote at 4/12/2013 11:43:39 PM:

Defense Distributed has not printed a rifle. They have printed one part of a rifle. That part is the part that is legally "the gun". Among the parts they do not print is the barrel. At the rear of the barrel - technically the "breach" - is the chamber that holds the cartridge when the gun is fired. The caliber he is shooting requires a chamber that can withstand 60,000psi. Find a plastic that does that! Maybe metal printers will come down in price enough to make this feasibly common in a few decades. Right now the power requirements of such a printer exceed what you can get in most homes. I don't know if there is a way to address that short of a commercial power feed. All this is fear-mongering, not rational discussion. Lastly, it is cheaper and faster to use machine shop tools to make firearms. 3D printing isn't going to change that for a long time. All this fear about the ability to manufacture firearms should also apply equally to machine shops and tools.

MrNinetails79 wrote at 4/12/2013 11:39:13 PM:

its just a matter of time before the tech is capable of printing complex chemicals, Someone - besides, for me, this just opens up the possibility that we will be forced, finally and past time, to see the absurdity of trying to control this sort of thing. if a human wants drugs or guns they will get them, illegal or not - better to facilitate drug use in a helpful way, and educate properly so that people are not idiots who use violence instead of intelligent discussion. by helpful facilitation of drug use, i mean that as certain peeps gravitate to that lifestyle, regardless of legal or non legal, we might as well ensure 1: that they have access to pure non adulterated stuff and 2: that they are not forced to rob or kill others to get money for their fix. everyone has the right to do as they please and they will excercise that right, whether gov't wants them to or not - facilitate drug use, and do away with all the related crime. simples.

NotFooled wrote at 4/12/2013 9:15:08 PM:

It's a pretty transparent push for controlling and taxing "digital imports".

CornGolem wrote at 4/12/2013 8:30:23 PM:

You don't need 3D printers to make illegal stuff inside a country, so it's nonsense.

angry wrote at 4/12/2013 6:30:27 PM:

And I bet Mr. Williams is such an expert that he has his own 3d printers so he really truly must know what he is talking about, right?

Someone who has a clue wrote at 4/12/2013 1:49:28 PM:

It's so sad to see people in positions of power so uninformed. Ecstasy tablets? Really? Sure, maybe empty capsules, or maybe even glow-stick tubes, but there is no 3D printing technology I've ever heard of that can do chemical reactions to create complex chemicals on the fly - especially not one that wouldn't require vats of dozens of potential reagents and tens upon tens of thousands of dollars of equipment - and therefore easily regulated. Sure, guns, knives, childrens' toys - but chemicals?

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