Anthrax by Fax

The Third Wave, to borrow a phrase from Alvin Toffler, for 3D printing–better styled as “additive manufacturing”–will be the production of living things. Assuming we know what the word “living” actually means. Will humanoid robots be “alive”? Are viruses alive? Given the extreme vulnerability of the Net to hacking and subtle remote penetration of supposedly secure devices and networks, who is to say that when the time finally arrives that every middle-class American has a state-of-the-art 3D printer in his/her den, that the STL files he prints may have been hacked?

3D faxes are the logical next step for 3D printers, and will begin arriving just as soon as 3D printers receive their own IP addresses. A few radio buttons clicked by the consumer when setting up his new compuprinter and he will unthinkingly grant remote control of his printer to someone else–perhaps to persons with less than friendly intentions Article by Glenn Roberts

What is the likelihood that a terrorist, instead of mailing an envelope of anthrax to a public official, instead assembles the digital instructions for making Anthrax on a 3D printer, seizes control of that official’s 3D printer, and remotely instructs the printer to create a minute quantity of Anthrax that will drift into the air once it dries? Since this would not use the U.S. mail, would this even be illegal? If a terrorist can do this with one 3D printer, can a terrorist government do this with a million networked printers, anthrax penetrating everyone’s home with the frequency of spam? Say with every 3D printer whose IP address corresponds with locations in the U.S? An ever-shrinking world with ever-increasing ability to reach out and touch absolutely anyone seems suddenly to be a much less friendly environment for democratic and open political processes than most seem to assume….Glenn Roberts’ Blog 7/24/13.


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