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Chongqing orders registration of 3D printing firms

September 14, 2017

In a move aimed at preventing 3D technology from being used for illegal activity, the city now requires all 3D printing firms to register with police.

The South China Morning Post has reported that all companies that use 3D printing in Chongqing, China, are now required to register with local police “to avoid the technology being used for criminal activities”.

This requirement on the part of the city is China’s first such trial, and requires companies to provide information “about equipment and security measures they use, as well as the personal information of their heads and relevant employees.”

It is hoped that this registration will prevent criminals from using 3D printing to “produce illegal items or the digital blueprints for these items”, including potentially lethal objects such as weapons.

This development comes in the wake of troubling events, such as the arrest of a man in Japan in 2014, who was found to be in possession of five 3D printed guns, two of which were capable of firing bullets, and the discovery earlier this year that a man in London had been able to cheat facial-recognition security using 3D printed masks.

Chongqing police have revealed that “the technology could be used for criminal activities, given its low costs and ease at evading detection.”

Kwok Ka Wai, an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Hong Kong, commented, “There are a lot of tools that you can use to make bad things, but they are not tailor-made for that purpose.” He also expressed his concern about the abuse of regulations such as the registration now being made mandatory in Chongqing, saying, “3D printing is a kind of tool, like a hammer.”


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