Some rather interesting up and down today, with people hosting the Defense Distributed "Liberator" files, and then thinking better of it, while others stand on the sidelines and jeer.
"Grow a spine," is it? Hmpf.
Here's the thing: this is not the awkward, waddling BATFE, stepchild of alphabet agencies. State will not SWAT-raid you. They will not put FBI snipers in the trees, shoot family members and then work the system to buy the survivors off and protect the shooter.
Nope. It's the Department of State. They play for keepsies, they know what "martyr" means, they know from "rallying cry" and they have a whole lot of nice, dull-seeming boys and girls with law degrees who wear nice suits and carry nice fat briefcases with way more than lunch in them and who take -- or who have their staff take -- copious, detailed notes. When the dust settles, if they win? They will take you apart and leave you nekkid. In a Federal pen. And nobody but nobody will care. They have plenty of time and most of 'em lack any sense of drama. Or, for that matter, sense, period. If the job is to settle your hash for an ITAR violation, they'll do it, no matter how petty or stupid the violation, no matter how many Canadians are doing the same thing and no matter if the code in question got published on the front page of the Times yesterday.
To stand up to them, you need deep pockets and deep lawyers. You need EFF. You need ACLU. There is a fight to be fought -- and won! -- here, but painting a target on your nose is a suboptimal opening gambit for most of us.
6 months ago