Tech giants should proactively prevent the sharing of 3D-printed gun files across social media and internet search engines, a group of US senators has said.
Five senators have written to Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, Craigslist, Google, Reddit and Yahoo, urging them to take steps to block or limit access to downloadable files, which enable anyone with a 3D printer to create a firearm at home.
Senators Dianne Feinstein, Edward J Markey, Bill Nelson, Robert Menendez and Richard Blumenthal described reports that thousands of the files had already been downloaded as “deeply troubling”.
The move comes after US authorities lost a legal battle to close down a well-known organisation that develops digital firearm files.
“CAD (Computer Aided Design) files would allow users from all over the world to automate production of a gun using a 3D printer,” the senators said in a joint letter.
“The publication of these CAD files would therefore make available to any person deadly weapons that are untraceable and undetectable, thereby undermining firearms laws and posing a serious risk to the safety of our communities.”
Facebook recently took more drastic action of its own, immediately blocking any messages or comments on its main website, Facebook Messenger and Instagram that use terms associated with 3D-printed gun files.