That's a saying about the Internet, which was designed to be massively decentralized and self-healing when some of the nodes are taken out. While that idea was originally born of the Mutually Assured (nuclear) Destruction days, it turns out that the designers did their work well.
Another saying is the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. It's made Open Source possible, destroying old business models and giving rise to a myriad of new in an explosion of creative destruction. Microsoft crushed Netscape because there was a single entity to attack and drive out of business; they could never do the same to the Apache Foundation or Kernel.Org because both of those are massively decentralized.
And so when we look at how the Fed.Gov made Defense Distributed take down their plans for the 3D Liberator pistol, we grasp in an instant that theirs is an old mind set, similar to the mind set at Honeywell Computers or CBS News. They don't get it, that the toothpaste is out of the tube and not going back in.
Just how out of the tube is it? This much:
Now look at that highlighted blue line. Liberator. 1647 seeds. I am not one of them. (I’ve halted that particular torrent.) We’re into this some relatively long time since the original release of the .torrent file onto the internet. The first night I grabbed a copy. More as a political statement than anything else. I wanted to “be heard” stating “this is OUR freedom of speech and we choose to talk to each other in bits and bytes.” as I’ve never seen a “3-D printer” the content is actually useless to me. I expect that is true for most folks. The simple fact was that there were SO many folks with 100% of the file actively seeding it, and with high bandwidth, that I was just not getting any “share” of the upload requests.There are thousands and thousands of computers that are or could host the design specs. These computers are dispersed all over the world, and while some could be shut down by friendly governments, some other governments are more than happy to flip the bird to Uncle Sam.
Bittorrent has a method of finding the best source for you. It prunes out sites that are far away (topologically) and with low speed. You tend to get the most bits from the sites that are fastest and best connected to you. I was just not “important enough” when compared to big servers in large data centers with massive internet connections. (Many .torrent servers are sited at co-location facilities. Pirate Bay is reputed to be done with a cluster of Virtual Machines such that any Co-Lo site could be shut down and the ‘standby’ servers would detect that, and bring themselves up again in a different legal jurisdiction.) So after a while of watching me get “polled” (a 1 size or 0.1 size momentary ‘upload’) and then be dropped for a ‘better source’, I just turned off that seed. Notice that my “ratio” is zero.
Now the big question is just how many more folks are there “like me”? Discouraged that we were “too small” to matter? Just waiting “For that day” when the number of seeds drops down? Add in the slightly paranoid folks who have a copy and are NOT sharing (since your IP address shows up in the window of the person doing the download and “agencies” can run ongoing downloads to identify the sources… or some of the sources since not everyone connects to all of them…)? I’d guess a couple of orders of magnitude more. Heck, I want to be a seed for it, and it’s just too crowded right now to bother!
This is a long but very interesting article about the intersection of the programming community, the firearms community, and the pro-freedom (for lack of a better term) community. My experience is that this is typical in high tech: it may be that 75% of the computer security guys I know have concealed carry licenses.
And quite frankly, that intersection is indispensable to the Fed.Gov itself. It simply cannot live without these people, unless it wants to scuttle the economy is a doomed attempt to impose a rigid, 19th Century control model on a bunch of people who are smarter and more creative than the folks who inhabit the Civil Service. And that last isn't an insult, but an observation of the selection process in place in both government and high tech: one selects for people who will follow procedure while the other selects for people itching to shatter the procedures into a million shards and create something a thousand times better.
You might say that high tech selects for people who want to make something insanely great. People who think different.
Sorry, that's the signal, not the Liberator design torrent. Nobody at the State Department has the foggiest notion of how to turn that crazy contraption off. And never will.