Researchers develop new ‘fingerprint’ tracking method for 3D-printed guns
In a discovery that could help law enforcement agencies across the globe track 3D-printed guns and counterfeit goods, a team of scientists at the University at Buffalo has found that no two 3D printers are the same, and that all have their own “fingerprints”.
The researchers claim to have developed what they describe as the world’s first accurate method for tracing a 3D-printed object to the device on which it was made.
Commenting on the discovery, study lead author Wenyao Xu said:”3D printing has many wonderful uses, but it’s also a counterfeiter’s dream. Even more concerning, it has the potential to make firearms more readily available to people who are not allowed to possess them.
“3D printers are built to be the same. But there are slight variations in their hardware created during the manufacturing process that lead to unique, inevitable and unchangeable patterns in every object they print.”
Xu and his team found that every layer of a 3D-printed object contains unique tiny wrinkles that can be used to identify various characteristics of the machine that was used to create it, including printer model type, filament, nozzle size and other factors.
To test their new tracking method, which they dubbed the PrinTracker project, the scientists printed five door keys from 14 common 3D printers.
They then scanned each of the door keys to create a digital image that was enhanced and filtered, allowing for the identification of the unique in-fill patterns of each object.
The researchers were then able to match each key to the printer on which it was produced with 99.8% accuracy.
Xu likened the tracking method to the ability to identify the source of paper documents, a practice that has been used by law enforcement agencies, printer companies and other organisations for decades.
Speaking with Vice News, David Chipman, Senior Policy Adviser at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said: “For this to be useful to law enforcement who would be tracing guns, you’d have to have a record of the unique signature of every 3D printer being sold. We can only match it if we already have a record of it.”
While 3D-printed guns are currently widely considered as being flimsy and unreliable, experts fear that as the technology advances, they could be routinely used by criminals and terrorists on account of the fact they were considered to be nearly impossible to trace.
Boost stop and search to cut gang-related gun and knife violence in London, UK think tank says
A British think tank has advised police in London to boost stop and search to tackle rampant knife, gun and gang crime in the UK capital.
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a right-leaning think tank cofounded by Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith in 2014, this morning published a report that said the Metropolitan Police should introduce a zero-tolerance approach to gang-related crime, similar to the type that has been successfully implemented in cities such as Glasgow, Boston and Cincinnati.
According to the report, entitled It Can Be Stopped, a firearm is illegally discharged every six to nine hours in London.
It also notes that almost half of Londoners say there are “no-go areas” in the city close to where they live that they will not travel to or through.
Noting the disparity between London’s 32 boroughs when it comes to crime figures, the CSJ recommends that Scotland Yard conduct a detailed assessment to establish which areas present the highest risk, and that the British Government include provisions for a Serious Violence Reduction Order (SVRO) within the Offensive Weapons Bill that is currently making its way through Parliament.
Speaking with the Daily Mail, Duncan Smith said: “Stop and search does two things. It tells the gangs they cannot move their guns and drugs around, making their lives much more difficult.
“People claim ‘it’s not fair’, but who are the communities affected by this the most? It’s the poorest communities in our country.”
He also said that gang members from London and other major cities found to have committed criminal offences should be forcibly moved to other parts of the country in a bid to reduce violence.
The report was published after the Met issued to Section 60 order to coincide with the Notting Hill Carnival over the weekend, giving its officers the power to stop and search people without the need for reasonable suspicion.
Commenting on the issuing of the order, Commander Dave Musker, who was in charge of the policing operation at the event, said: “The use of this authority will reassure our communities that we are constantly working to protect them. It will also send a message to those intent on committing acts of violence that we will robustly target them.
“Section 60s have been used tactically to prevent violence across London over the past few weeks and I can assure you they are not used without detailed analysis of intelligence.”
Ecommerce giant Shopify bans sale of 3D-printed guns and semi-automatic firearms
Canadian ecommerce platform Shopify has banned the sale of some semi-automatic firearms and 3D-printed guns on the sites its technology powers.
Arguing that solely deferring to the law is “too idealistic and functionally unworkable on the fast moving internet”, the Ottawa-based company, which provides the backbone of online stores for more than 600,000 businesses, said the ban would only affect a small number of vendors.
The items the firm will no longer allow to be sold on the websites it powers include semi-automatic firearms that have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, firearms without serial numbers, ghost guns, 3D-printed guns and bump stocks.
“Solely deferring to the law, in this age of political gridlock, is too idealistic and functionally unworkable on the fast-moving internet,” Shopify Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said in a blog post. “We have found ourselves in a position of having to make our own decisions on some of these issues. And along the way we had to accept that neutrality is not a possibility.”
He added: “We addressed this vacuum by creating a carefully crafted Acceptable Use Policy which allows space for all types of products, even the ones that we disagree with, but not for the kind of products intended to harm.”
US lawmakers are currently grappling with the regulation of 3D-printed guns, with a judge recently overturning an agreement between a gun advocacy group and the government to allowed blueprints for the plastic weapons to be distributed online.
Some campaigners claim 3D-printed guns are too basic and unreliable to cause any major harm if they were to fall into the wrong hands, but others argue that the pace of technological innovation could mean they might soon make viable weapons.
Critics worry that allowing blueprints for 3D-printed guns to become widely available online could result in anybody who is able to gain access to the technology required to build them to access multiple untraceable weapons.
Last week, Facebook said it would remove blueprints for 3D-printed guns from its platforms, due to the fact they violate its rules on regulated goods.
Responding to an enquiry from the AFP news agency, the company said: “Sharing instructions on how to manufacture firearms using 3D printers or CNC milling machines is not allowed under our Community Standards.
“In line with our policies, we are removing this content from Facebook.”
- Customs officers in Taiwan catch woman smuggling dozens of gerbils strapped to her legs
- Al Jazeera-owned beIN Media Group publishes sports content piracy allegations against Saudi rival
- Australian police arrest Malaysian flight attendants accused of helping drugs gang smuggle heroin and crystal meth
- EU Intellectual Property Office strips McDonald’s of ‘Big Mac’ trademark after battle with small Irish rival
- Police in Belgium and Portugal dismantle organised crime gang behind sham marriage conspiracy
9 February 2018
9 February 2018
8 February 2018
28 November 2017
28 November 2017
Follow us on Twitter
Articles2 weeks ago
China’s Supreme Court starts hearing IP infringement cases following pressure from US government
Articles2 weeks ago
Dubai Customs disrupted 922 smuggling attempts in first nine months of last year
Articles3 days ago
Police in Belgium and Portugal dismantle organised crime gang behind sham marriage conspiracy
Articles1 week ago
Armenian tennis match-fixing gang brought down during Europol-backed operation in Spain
Articles1 week ago
Scottish criminals can now make as much money from puppy smuggling as drug dealing, charity warns
Articles3 weeks ago
US drug overdose deaths linked to illegally-made synthetic opioids up 45%, CDC reveals
Articles7 days ago
‘Pablo Escobar of egg theft’ jailed for attempting to smuggle rare bird species into UK
Articles1 week ago
Italian police smash smuggling network suspected of trafficking Islamist extremists into Europe