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Firms Using 3D Printing in Chongqing to Register with Police

Picture of Hanna Watkin
by Hanna Watkin
Sep 15, 2017

Firms using 3D printing in Chongqing, China are required to register with authorities to avoid criminal use, but is this measure justified?

3D printing is a technology which, like anything other, can be used for good or for evil. Police in Chongqing, China prefer not to leave it up to fate: Companies involved with 3D printing must now register themselves.

This new measure, the first of its kind, was put into effect on Monday. The hope is that it will discourage the technology’s use in criminal activity.

Information required by the police includes the equipment the company uses, the security measures they have in place, and information on all employees involved in 3D printing.

Police also recognize that the technology is both low cost and inconspicuous. As such, companies must now register themselves as “special industries”. The question is, is this measure really justified?

In fact, the new requirement is only a trial, with the aim to prevent people from using 3D printing technology illegally. Examples include printing guns or developing digital blueprints.

Chongqing police are cracking down on illegal 3D printed items

Is Chongqing Overreacting or Responding Justifiably?

Kwok Ka Wai, assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at the University of Hong Kong, lends his opinion: “There are a lot of tools that you can use to make bad things, but they are not tailor-made for that purpose.”

Wai believes the trial is an overreaction and that having such measures in place could even result in them being abused.

Yet, as was previously seen at All3DP, 3D printed guns are a growing concern, with countries like Australia clamping down. Police have also pointed out that 3D printed latex masks could enable people to evade facial-recognition security systems.

Hopefully, with 3D printing companies registering themselves, it will at least be possible for police to learn how criminals distribute illegal objects.

Whether you believe this is a worthwhile cause or not, it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. In fact, if the trial is successful, it could be rolled out across the rest of China. Stay tuned.

Source: South China Morning Post

Chongqing police are cracking down on illegal 3D printed items

License: The text of "Firms Using 3D Printing in Chongqing to Register with Police" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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