ITAR is being updated

I’ve written about ITAR before (and here). It is being updated for the age of the Internet. With the current administration in power you know that doesn’t mean it’s an improvement from our viewpoint.

The NRA explains:

Commonly used and unregulated internet discussions and videos about guns and ammo could be closed down under rules proposed by the State Department, amounting to a “gag order on firearm-related speech,” the National Rifle Association is warning.

In updating regulations governing international arms sales, State is demanding that anyone who puts technical details about arms and ammo on the web first get the OK from the federal government — or face a fine of up to $1 million and 20 years in jail.

One could dismiss this as tin-foil hat fears but there does appear to be reason to be concerned when you read the actual proposed changes which include things like this:

This rulemaking proposes that the electronic transmission of unclassified ‘‘technical data’’ abroad is not an ‘‘export,’’ provided that the data is sufficiently secured to prevent access by foreign persons. Additionally, this proposed rule would allow for the electronic storage of unclassified ‘‘technical data’’ abroad, provided that the data is secured to prevent access by parties unauthorized to access such data.

It is easy to read the proposed changes as my reporting accuracy issues with some ammo on my blog as sufficient grounds to be subject to felony charges. Gun and ammo manufacture websites appear to be covered as well, but they would be in a much better position to pay the annual $2000 ITAR fee and get permission before posting their material.

Government is way out of control. Contempt for and ignoring our government at a very broad level will only increase until it collapses.

If you can tolerate getting angered every minute or two read By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission. I’m listening to it now via an audible book. I about a third of the way through and the situation with stupid, stifling, obvious (to me) unconstitutional  regulations is being presented. ITAR hasn’t been mentioned so far but probably 99% of the Federal regulations could qualify.

I think the author is going to tell us to ignore the regulations and wait for the collapse as the best way out. That would appear to me to be just as good as advice as anything I can think of.

Update: Sebastian agrees it is a very serious issue.

7 thoughts on “ITAR is being updated

  1. Pingback: SayUncle » ITAR update may threaten gun websites

  2. The good news is that there’s no conceivable way that the imbeciles behind this could actually charge and prosecute everyone who would / could run afoul of it.

    The bad news is that if a gunblogger ever manages to piss off a politician or petty bureaucrat – because that NEVER happens – the aggrieved party will now have the means to exact retribution.

    I have a hard time believing this will survive Constitutional scrutiny, but I also (a) don’t exactly want to be the test case, and (2) can’t definitively say it wouldn’t survive Constitutional scrutiny.

    • I can say it would survive Constitutional scrutiny. But I sure wouldn’t want to be the test case to determine whether the particular Judges that get the case would actually perform a Constitutional analysis.

    • They don’t need to prosecute everyone. Just the ones they don’t like and who rise to their attention. Run for office as a gunnie, they go after you. Challenge someone in the press or get to vocal in your blog, they go after you.

      When they started using police powers like IRS audits to censor political advocates this sort of patchwork enforcement became low hanging fruit for additional enactment.

  3. One insidious aspect of the “export of technical data” thing is that it applies to “foreign persons” — including those living in the USA.
    Years ago, Phil Zimmerman dealt with the issue of export regulations by publishing his software (PGP) on paper, then exporting that paper. The notion was that judges understand paper, and could understand how to apply the 1st amendment. It worked for him (though barely). The same was done with the DES cracker chip design (which also is the only modern book I have seen that is in the public domain).
    So I wonder about, say, printing the design data for a 3d printed gun design, or a suppressor design, and exporting it in that fashion. Hm… exporting Liberator II to Europe, now there’s a neat “history almost repeating itself” concept.

  4. Pretty neat is that it would simultaneously violate the first and second amendments.

    What could be better than that? They could confiscate your server, thus violating the first, second and fourth, then hold you without trial, adding the fifth. I bet some Progressive is, this very moment, figuring out how to violate all ten at once in the same case, just for fun and points.

    At some point though they’ll simply stop enacting laws. Why bother with pretexts at all, once they get as weak as this?

    Who do they think they’re still fooling? Isn’t that the only question left?

    • Well, there are all the people who know that Hillary is dishonest but support her anyway.
      Today’s WSJ had an article comparing Hilary with Nixon. Good one, and there are a lot of similarities. One difference that wasn’t mentioned (not to speak of anyway) is that Hilary is a Democrat, so most media support her no matter what, while Nixon was a Republican so most media would have opposed him even if they didn’t have any reason to.

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