How the UK will screw over 3D printing before it even has a chance to live

3D printing is the latest technology of recent memory, where it has the power to change entire businesses, lives, and processes. 3D printing could literally be one of the best inventions of our lives. 3D printing has tremendous possibilities. From medicine to design, the applications are endless. And with this much potential, and power, surely it will be followed by controversy.

3D printing is just how it sounds. You literally make a design and print out the design, in three dimensions, from a 3D printing machine. It’s something tangible and real. The type of things you can print range from the good, to the controversial.

How will the UK put a stop to 3D printing, before it has a chance to show the world how wonderful it is? Well, think about this. Once 3D printing becomes affordable and mainstream, it will undoubtedly be in households across the world.

Katie Evans is 16 years old. She lives in the United Kingdom and attends a sought-after academy in the Home Counties. She has a good and fulfilling life so far. She is young, popular, and beautiful. Unfortunately one day, Katie had sent scans of her own genitals to a boy, who in turn passed the shapefile around to his classmates for any of them to churn out on home-bake 3D printers.

Naturally, the idea of two dozen horny teenage boys walking around school all day with their fingers wedged inside a silicone replica of her daughter’s quim didn’t sit well with mother. Frustrated by the school’s inability to put an end to the situation, she made a Faustian pact with the Daily Mail which, presented with a story hoisted on its twin obsessions of Middle England outrage and jailbait teens, was only too keen to warn of the dangers of kids voxelling their private parts and proxy-fucking one another across a digital divide in a spunk-and-disease free orgy of teenage exuberance.

The Prime Minister, adrift in the polls and needing to claw back the socially conservative heartlands from the rash of crackpot Little Englander parties that sprung up in the wake of UKIP, saw an opportunity in this and proclaimed that from now on, the manufacturers of 3D printers would have to include locks that detected any sexual content and refused to print it unless an adult was present and signed up to a National Sex Paraphernalia Manufacturers Registry. These proposals were lambasted as utterly unworkable by anyone and everyone familiar with the devices, and moreover, they warned that thousands of legitimate designs were likely to be caught up as false positives by this theoretical lock, and thousands more would slip through entirely.

The Prime Minister, warming to his theme, announced that new laws would be drafted immediately to make explicit shapefiles of underaged youths illegal, ignoring the fact that such representations already fell well within the boundaries of existing child pornography laws. The new laws were sufficiently broad that children’s hospitals immediately suspended every skin graft and prosthetic limb printing operation until the shapefiles could be cleared by departmental lawyers.

The news of Katie Evans and the UK Government banning 3D printing hasn’t happened, yet. It’s a fictional story written by Frank Swain. But the story isn’t that far fetched, and can soon be a reality in the UK.

Just last month, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that starting later this year, UK ISPs will block pornography by default. Customers who want to be able to view porn will have to explicitly tell their ISPs that that’s the case. Cameron’s justification for the move, according to VentureBeat:

Pornography, is a big danger to children — not just because of child porn, but also because of the danger exposure to it poses to the developing minds of young ones. The UK has failed to address the issue from both sides.

With the UK Government taking a totalitarian view on Internet usage, the idea that one bad story to hit the headlines about 3D printing will result in the banning of it in the UK, doesn’t seem that fictional after all.