3D Printing and the Right to Privacy: Proposals for a Regulatory Framework
Digital watermarks placed within 3D prints pose a challenge to the privacy of individuals. These watermarks are ubiquitous to every single 3D print, and thus can be used to track and trace the use of that print. The tracking can be achieved through any Internet connected device capable of detecting a watermark, such as a camera on a laptop or mobile phone. The unique nature of each watermark means that the use of an object by an individual is easier to trace. The ubiquity of watermarks in 3D printing poses a challenge to the privacy of the individual. This paper proposes three recommendations to deal with this challenge. Firstly, that the potential for digital watermarks to invade privacy should be addressed in relevant copyright treaties and under the international human rights law framework, secondly, that a voluntary code of conduct be established that supports the promotion of privacy through self-regulation of watermarking and 3D printing, and thirdly, that there should be a regulatory body to provide guidance and oversight.
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