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A DIY Cruise Missile (2004) (interestingprojects.com)
173 points by bgun 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 103 comments



Fun stuff. There is an apocryphal story of an event at the annual Blackrock Amateur Rocketry fly off where the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms either confiscated (one version) or denied use of (another variation) a rocket that had been steerable fins and was designed to use orientation with the Sun as a means to keep it going straight up. The story goes that once a rocket can track a heat source and fly based on that track it becomes a "munition" and is no longer just a rocket.

That said, the information that you can make sophisticated weapons with off the shelf parts is not new nor necessarily rare. Everything from guns to armored machine gun platforms, drone bombers, to drone like cruise missiles seem to have not only been built but fielded in recent battles. It's hard to imagine that anyone can keep this sort of information "secret" by hitting individual web sites with cease and desist orders.


1998, though unfortunately the archive didn't get the pictures/videos: https://web.archive.org/web/20100118003800/http://homepage.m...

This has pictures: http://www.mindspring.com/~sportrocketry/ggsg/sequence.html

Last time I looked into this, legally speaking it is payload that matters, not guidance, at least until you try to export. Though there is a general bias in the hobby against doing things that attract negative attention, even if it is, strictly speaking, legal.

There have been other sun-seekers as well.


a gun is a sophisticated weapon? I though you could make one with a metal pipe, nail and springs; provided you have access to cartridges. could be wrong though.


Well you can make a cannon as easily, but the BATF has been aggressive at pursuing people who discuss gun making, the more sophisticated (like 3D printing them) the more aggressive the pursuit. A project for recreating a black powder musket? Not a lot of heat. A project for a repeating launcher that lobs soviet era grenades while pulling the pins on exit, very aggressive pursuit.


It's legal to build your own guns.

3d printing isn't that sophisticated considering you can build a working AR with off the shelf parts, a drill press, and a hand router.


There's plans for an 7.62 Tokarev pistol based on the AK style action that have been floating around the internet since forever. No drill press or router required. Just a drill, file and some misc hand tools. The AK style action lends itself well to that kind of ghetto fabrication because it's a stamped receiver and machining tolerances can be described as "optional"


It's legal to build your own guns but people who disseminate info for how to do so have got in all kinds of legal trouble. Defense Distributed, codeisfreespeech.com, etc


Hey, I did that when I was 13 or 14. There was lots of ammunition lying around in the woods, if you knew where to look. Mostly 7.6 mm, but some 12.7 mm and 20 mm.


Sometimes I think 'hey, I had a pretty interesting childhood', and other times, I read comments like this one.


Sometimes it was too "interesting". I was 13 in 1962. A few years later, my parents worked at the UN in New York City. I met some people who were into LSD, and started smuggling it back home. When things got iffy, I ran away, and lived on the road. After a few years, I found a mentor, and got refugee status. Then college and grad school, and a ~middle class life :)


Out of curiosity, under the assumption you had kids, was your parenting style the anti pattern to helicopter parenting?


I don't think that I've had any kids. But yes, I would have been a laissez-faire parent, I think. Although it's possible that I might have become paranoid and over-protective (and over-controlling).


With a bit of work you've got the beginnings of a nice lyric there :)


People have suggested that I write an autobiography. But I'm more of a technical writer.


What woods were these that had 20mm cannon rounds scattered about?


This is true of nearly any country which had a real, actual, land war on its soil. Which is most of European countries, and especially the former USSR and today's Russia. As kids in Russia we burnt TNT for fun (or whatever the waxy thing was that's found inside artillery shells) and threw WW2 rifle rounds into bonfires. Only much later did I find out that TNT fumes are toxic.


In any german city there is a good chance, that some forgotten bomb rots away right beneath the building you live, blowing up any second.

Excavator work here is something for heroes and suicidal people.


TNT is indeed a very safe explosive. And yes, it burns ~like wax, but lots more sooty. Basically, detonation requires high-velocity shock. More even than blasting caps. You need a secondary explosive. Which, anyway, is why it's good for artillery shells.


Belated footnote: When the military run low on TNT and other "safe" explosives, sometimes they switch to stuff that's far more shock-sensitive, ages faster, and becomes very hazardous over time. So one key thing is knowing which types of munitions are ~safe to play with, and which are deadly.

Also, TNT releases NO2 when it burns (or detonates). Plus a bunch of ~toxic and ~mutagenic aromatic hydrocarbons, which end up absorbed on the soot. Some of which is respirable.


>Only much later did I find out that TNT fumes are toxic.

sounds like those self-made detonators we used to dispose the stuff of were a healthier choice :)


When I was a kid we used to pick up 50 Cal tracer ammo in the desert by the snake river. The story was that during training planes would pull most of their tracers out of ammo belts and dump them in the desert so they wouldn't have to put out wildfires later. 1970's


Not far from Veliky Novgorod.


Probably means 10 gauge shotgun shells but I've never heard anyone call them "20mm"

edit: hmm, maybe that doesn't make sense since he also says 12.7mm, maybe he lives where there was once a war like m0zg says


20mm was a pretty popular caliber for AA guns, and you can often find them in the ground around the cities and military bases in Europe that have been heavily bombarded in WWII. In Europe it's a lot of fun to play with metal detectors since there's a lot of stuff in the ground around old cities, from ancient coins to more modern things like WWI and WWII bullets, broken bayonet blades, helmets, and all kinds of old metal junk.


Not only is a simple gun, as you describe, able to be readily and easily made but, one can also make a sophisticated gun (AR style) through 3D printing or even using a relatively inexpensive CNC.


Guns are weird because to be effective they typically need to be rifled. You can obviously make a shotgun with some home depot pipe but the pressure bearing components of a gun can't be 3D printed. Even with 3D metal printing, you still need to machine the parts to final tolerances and your average garage setup is not remotely capable of rifling a barrel. Hence, when you hear about people 3D printing an AR, they're making the lower receiver which is both a trivially simple part, largely non load bearing, and also due to US law, the legal "gun" part of the gun. In most other countries the pressure bearing parts are the controlled items as those are the hardest to manufacture. In the US you can just buy an upper with the bolt, barrel, and chamber without a background check and manufacture the controlled lower however you want to obtain a complete rifle.

I guess this is all a long winded way of saying the 3D printing panic is both right and wrong but neither side is looking at it in a factual way.


You can rifle a barrel in your garage. Search youtube, there are DIY videos.

Btw, you need a rifled barrel to make accurate shots at long-ish distances. For close quarter combat a submachine gun with a smooth bore would do quite well. Something similar to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borz. Any machine shop can crank those out in numbers.


I was a bit simplistic given that I didn't expect all the HN gun experts to come out of the woodwork on this one but I'll bite :)

Yes, you can get by with a smooth bore but "long-ish" here is significantly less than buckshot range. To get really nerdy, if volume of fire (submachine gun) is going to replace accuracy, the difficulty in creating a reliable magazine dwarfs the difficulty in rifling and while I haven't tried, I don't think 3D printing has the tolerances to solve that...yet.

Yes you can rifle a barrel in a garage but you need real machine tools as well as some very specialized tools that you'll need to either acquire or build which kind of adds steps beyond "have machine tools" -> "make gun"


To crudely rifle a barrel you just need a press. Or you can make a machine like this: https://www.alloutdoor.com/2017/04/17/watch-homemade-barrel-.... I once saw a video of a machine which did not require any machine tools, you'd just make a guide and then manually cut the riflings. All you need there is a lot of patience.

For these designs you also do not need 3d printing at all. You just need suitable pipes, or sheets of metal that you bend and either weld or use fasteners to make the receiver. You are right though, designing and building reliable magazines is probably going to be one of the things that require a lot of attention to details.

There are books that have full blueprints for crude SMGs, here is an example: https://www.amazon.com/Do-yourself-Submachine-Gun-Lightweigh...


Depending on the magazine dimensions (single stack is hard) Reliable magazines can be largely 3d printed, as can the follower and the jigs used to bend piano wire into proper springs. The 3d.printed.mag will usually have less capacity than a metal one though.


> your average garage setup is not remotely capable of rifling a barrel.

I'm going to argue the point. Yes, your average suburban weekend warrior won't have the stuff. But if you are even slightly into machining, you almost certainly can.

Practically every machining magazine will have at least one article about rifling in every issue.

Yes, you need a metal lathe and some tooling. Those are neither rare nor that expensive--and very old lathes and tooling work just fine.

The biggest problem a machinist always has is space for the equipment.


Amateur machinist here. I don't care about guns, so it would probably take a mistake or two, but I have zero doubt I could make a rifled barrel on the tooling down the block at my local makerspace. It isn't hard at all. (QC and repeatability are different topics, I'm not talking about commercial manufacturing.)

I can't do it in my garage, because I don't have one. My machines have to go up stairs in an urban walkup, so they're too small, and as mentioned, I have no interest in making guns anyway.

But yeah, a lot of people have both the skill and the means. Remember that people started making rifled barrels in the 1500s, a little while before we had CNC or overnight commercial-grade metal delivery.


All you do is make a die, harden it, and then carefully force it through the barrel? I guess?


Yea, that's a fair point, it's not insurmountable. I responded to apr mentioning something similar but ultimately the point I'm making is mostly that the upper requires a small machine shop filled with mostly commodity tooling and the lower requires a file and a drill press or a cheap 3D printer.


At work so can't watch videos on rifling a barrel, but can this tooling also be DIY'ed? I imagine rifling is 'just' a matter of using a very thin, very long cutter on a suitable lathe, but then I would think it would be pretty hard to make such a cutter yourself.


> At work so can't watch videos on rifling a barrel, but can this tooling also be DIY'ed?

There are a zillion videos on YouTube about this.

The hard part isn't the rifling, it's cutting the bore. After that, you can "just" push a rifling button through it and it will cut the rifling.


haven't looked at rifling, but making single point boring cutters for a lathe isn't at all hard. you can just screw a carbide cutting insert onto any old piece of steel.

seems like you'd have stiffness problems for long barrels (?)


You could make a push broach that holds an insert (or make it out of HSS then press it through the barrel.


True, but fin-stabilized sabot rounds (~darts) for the 12 ga shotgun are damn impressive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGzgbXCrWHQ


> your average garage setup is not remotely capable of rifling a barrel

Ehhh ... you talk a lot about 3D printing, but that’s not the only tool that people have in their garages. A huge number of people have metal lathes in their garages. I happen to have a small, CNC controlled metal lathe and mill in my garage. The whole setup cost me about the same as a high quality, rapid prototyping 3D printer (<4000USD). I am pretty sure I could make a firearm, in my garage, including rifling, if I was determined to do so.

Personally I have no desire to build my own firearms, because it’s illegal to do so in my country and it’s also extremely dangerous. But in many places in the US it does appear to be legal.


I think the reason for going after lowers is because that's where, in AR pattern at least, the majority of components for auto-firing are mounted, whereas the upper may just have an extra notch or two etched in the bolt.


No it's because the lower is legally the gun, because it has the trigger and hammer assembly in it. The whole rest of the upper half of the gun can be ordered online and shipped right to your house because it isn't legally a gun or the critical components.


Very different in Australia where every part of the gun is restricted. You can’t buy a single gun part and you certainly can’t buy ammunition without a license.


The auto sear (auto-firing part of the lower) is just a little lever hinged on a pin that blocks the hammer from moving momentarily. The two cuts that it interfaces with in the upper are somewhat more complicated.


I thought it also required some sort of twisted wire pin that interfaces with the sear and hinges off something built into the upper.

The majority of my firearm knowledge comes from that world of guns puzzle game so I'm probably very off on something, but I do remember there was a lot of going on in that area of the gun


Maybe you're confusing it with the fact that you can make a ghetto drop in auto sear out of a bent coat hanger?

Google "drop in auto sear" eventually you'll find something that explains the sequence of events of the trigger mechanism in sufficient detail.


Dunno if it qualifies as “sophisticated“ but original AK is designed to be made from like a piece of sheet metal and others pointed out you can rifle a barrel in your garage.


It has been demonstrated that you can fashion an AK out of a typical gardening shovel. https://www.northeastshooters.com/xen/threads/diy-shovel-ak-...



Sheet metal is actually harder to use than milled parts, it's just cheaper for mass production. The original AK was a milled receiver which they switched to stamped for subsequent iterations. Stamping metal with high accuracy is very hard and requires very special tooling.


Sorry, no. It is cheaper in every way possible. The lower receiver is literally metal box with holes in it. You can hammer it out by hand and cut to size with a dremel. The most challenging parts will be smaller pieces (hammer, bolt etc) and all the tubing for the gas trap system (that one will actually require some welding). That’s if you want to build it entirely from Home Depot materials and tools for some reason (in the US only receiver is legally a “weapon”).


> Stamping metal with high accuracy is very hard and requires very special tooling.

Only if you want to crank them out by the millions. As the "shovel AK" clearly demonstrates you can get it done more easily if you don't need to produce them at scale.


AK are harder to make at home because it's sheet metal. Requires welding and other harder work.

Vs buying an 80% blank, drilling a few holes, and then routing.


I see these 80% kits online that even includes the tooling you need to complete it. It’s so simple anyone could do it.


If compared to commercially available 80% lowers for ar, sure


See P A Luty [0] and his submachinegun, made entirely from scratch using basic machine shop tools (i.e. not requiring a CNC machine, just a bench drill, hacksaw, angle grinders and various hand tools, see page 4 in his book. [1]) which was tested and confirmed as a viable firearm by the UK police (in order to prosecute him) although it doesn't have a rifled barrel...

0. http://armamentresearch.com/pa-luty-9mm-submachine-guns/

1. http://www.thehomegunsmith.com/pdf/Expedient-Homemade-Firear...


You can even build an AR-15 without a CNC machine. It's doable with a hand drill, although will look nicer and may function better if you use a drill press or router. There's a video on youtube of a guy that made an AR-15 out of beer cans, although he had some blacksmithing equipment if I remember correctly.


If this is the same video we're talking about, he 'just' melted down the beer cans into a block of aluminum and then machined a lower from it, right? (and he also made a video where he melted down spent brass and machined an AR lower from it) If so, that melting down can be done using $15 of home depot materials (metal bucket, thermal insulation wool or cement, 2 propane burners)

(DIY metal smelting/foundries are a great way to waste a few hours watching Youtube videos)


saw a guy who made one out of old casings.

Really cool. He had a milling machine though.


Turns out off the shelf GPS modules are good to 50,000m and 500m/s.

https://www.u-blox.com/sites/default/files/MAX-8_DataSheet_%...

Only downside is you're limited to 4g, but that's not the end of the world.

Low update rate, but workaround-able with a IMU. A simple micro, accelerometer, gyro, and you're in business. Pulse jets can get stupid cheap -- there's not much more to them than sheet metal.

Frame is easy enough to fabricate -- Fusion360 will even simulate your aerodynamics for you.

This thing could be built for waaaay less than $5k; Probably buildable for < $1500, depending on what kind of explosives you load into it -- I have no idea how much those are. It's also well within the range of a hobbyist. Any sort of organized group should have no problem, assuming they can round up an electrical engineer and a machinist.


> Any sort of organized group should have no problem, assuming they can round up an electrical engineer and a machinist.

Thankfully most competent machinists and electrical engineers can find more profitable things to build.

I've said repeatedly, our best defense against terrorism is the fact that terrorists are dumb.

It's why good, old fashioned, people intensive police work is far more effective than high tech solutions.


I agree that most terrorists are dumb - in fact, I wrote a draft post on how I think it came to be that way:

http://braino.org/essays/the_rise_of_the_stupid_terrorist/


That's funny. Clean it up and submit it to Parameters.


You're right, but I also think about how the Zetas had (have?) a habit of kidnapping engineers to build and maintain their radio network.

https://www.wired.com/2012/11/zeta-radio/


I’m not so sure.

His objectives state he is looking to build what is basically a custom jet with a 100mi range and 22lb payload. This significantly out performs the custom RC model turbine jets I found online, and their total weight fueled was like 50lb.

one I found, used, was ~$6K.

https://www.ebay.com/bhp/rc-turbine


No turbine -- pulsejet.

Also video from the same guy talking about pulsejets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8FSa5peEUk


Coming soon: Cruise Missile As A Service.

Our on-demand global network of 3d printers quickly and reliably fulfills all your strike requests.

Comprehensive plans with a predictable kiloton/strike billing. Bitcoin accepted. Our activities are carbon-compensated to preserve the environment.

/s (I hope)


And of course, in a true SV fashion, at least initially most of the strike orders will be fulfilled by employees sneaking up to the target with homemade explosives. You have to hustle, fake it 'till you make it & stuffs.

/s (if your's /s).


Remember those "twitch plays X" streams? How about "Twitch fires cruise-missiles" next? Just hook up the twitch chat to your missile API and get that sweet internet fame.

/s (I really REALLY hope)


This would make for a great Rick&Morty episode, though :).


Does viewing this link make one a criminal under the UK's new legislation on viewing material likely to be of help to a terrorist?

Anyway the page has disappeared but can be seen on the Wayback Machine. The page itself seems not to contain any information that would fall under that legislation but perhaps some of the links it contains might.

As it is in the Wayback Machine and that is mirrored I wonder if the mere existence of the mirror would be enough to expose the hosting entity to a risk under the UK legislation.


> Does viewing this link make one a criminal under the UK's new legislation on viewing material likely to be of help to a terrorist?

1) No

2) It's not new law. The law is from 2000. You can diff these two for the new bits

original: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/11/section/58/enac...

new: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/11/section/58

3) Stop reading the shitty fucking register, because it's misleading you.


There have been prosecutions under this law, but they're remarkably difficult to find. The UK press has a weird habit of not reporting actual terrorist convictions in very much detail.


"makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism"

Instructions on how to build a cruise missile would seem to fall under that. So do you have a slightly more helpful answer. Whether it is from 2000 or 2019, seems irrelevant.


Find me the instructions. This mostly seems like a website about a project - not how to recreate it.


That seems to be by design:

>Obviously the goal of this website is not to provide terrorists or other nefarious types with the plans for a working cruise missile but to prove the point that nations need to be prepared for this type of sophisticated attack from within their own borders.

>A detailed level of documentation will be provided to those who qualify and are willing to pay a small subscription for full access to the project diary.


> pay a small subscription for full access to the project diary

Recurring payments do not work well with suicide bombers and alike. You've got to be careful with this.


On the other hand, suicide bombers aren't really the target market for cruise missiles ;)


If you got a _really_ good sales funnel, you might get them nevertheless...


"viewing material likely to be of help to a terrorist" - seriously?

That would apply to a guide on how to browse the web and use Google, wouldn't it?


That's why overly broad laws are a terrible idea.

This and it's ilk are basically "because we don't like your face" catch-all's.

Sadly the UK is good at those to whit - The Anti-Social Behaviour Order (defunct but lastesd from 98 to 2015) which made previously criminal behavior a civil matter.

We are a curiously illiberal liberal democracy.


Or a gym training plan, since terrorists don't want to be overweight!

https://youzicha.tumblr.com/post/166323190559/documents-bann...


The page worked for me in the UK.


Side note, I always found it funny that one of the symbols for the Royal New Zealand Air Force is the British symbol (composed of concentric circles) with a Kiwi in the middle. The symbol for their air force literally has a flightless bird on it!


But kangaroos and maple leafs can't fly either...


That’s beautiful irony, although the concentric circles is far from a British-only symbol


The symbol (and indeed, the air force itself) is directly descended from the RAF.

I’m not sure what your point was, but GP’s was quite clear.


> The symbol ... is directly descended from the RAF

Aircraft roundels originated with the French Tricolore cockade. Concentric circles are used in many many country's roundels, and are far from anything particularly British.


I think perhaps your mistake was thinking that the description given was meant to be exhaustive?

It's as if I said "The American flag (composed of stripes and a blue corner)" and you were to say "wait, that's not exclusively American"

Yes but, so what?


Yes and the Kiwi roundel is directly descended from the British RAF symbol.

Which you can distinguish from all other roundels, by definition, or they wouldn't be useful things to have!


Bruce Simpson is awesome. He still has his website. Check out his work on the pulse jet engine at http://www.aardvark.co.nz/pjet/


He is also running a successful YouTube channel: https://youtube.com/rcmodelreviews


This is probably the best book on how the professionals had fun building rockets back in the day. It's a gread read, and full of useful practical chemical engineering advice and cautionary tales. You might find PDFs, but you can also buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Ignition-Informal-Propellants-Univers...


Some quotes here give insight into the fun and dangers involved. https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/663284-ignition-an-inf...

'“It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that’s the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water-with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals-steel, copper, aluminium, etc.-because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminium keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.” '

I think I learned about the book from this blog, or a HN post of it,and it is both fun and expertly informed. http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2010/02/23/thi...


Given Pu, a gun type nuke is basically banging two rocks together. Given DU, Pu is just hitting it with fast neutrons and chemically separating. Given marginally free hydropower, fast neutrons are a homebrew fusor and a light switch away. DU and hydro turbines are cheap. A hobbyist with patience can build a lowtech fission bomb.

Carfentanil can be manufactured by the billions of lethal doses - or scaled to trillions, with a HELOC.

Virosynthesis isn't a hobbyist endeavor yet but soon will be.

The only reason we aren't all dead is lack of incentive. Of course a sufficiently bad government can change the incentive structure overnight.


This project is awesome regardless of it being a weapon. Trying to prevent information from getting out there is ridiculous - if somebody wants to kill lots of people they will find a way irrespective of actions taken to prevent it.

The safe guard here is: (1) there is a reasonable level of engineering competence required, (2) a resource barrier (time and money), (3) building something like this is quite obvious and (4) most people don't want to hurt people.


I quite understand the motivation behind the project — this is absolutely great. However, open publication of all details can create all sort of problems, including those he described.

If you want to be a weapons designer (and why not?), your best bet is probably working for the government. The second best option is to limit information distribution to other hobbyists / professionals.


Seems like the project was ultimately not completed: http://www.interestingprojects.com/cruisemissile/diary.shtml


I don't know about cruise missiles but ISIS has modified commercial off-the-shelf drones to deliver bombs. 3 French Special Forces soldiers were killed in one such attack during the battle of Mosul.


I always wonder, is it really possible for a free civilization with sufficiently advanced technology to survive and sustain? Due to development of the contemporary industry, many types of technology, previously only available to major corporations and governments, can now be purchased off-the-shelf for personal use.

The very development of personal computing and the Internet is a manifestation of this. In the early 1960s, computers used to be seen as giant, enormous, oppressive machines used by faceless corporations and governments to produce national statistics, design nuclear weapons, or perform top-secret cryptographic communications. On the other hand, our pioneers of personal computing have identified, that once the power of computers is available to everyone, to "we the people", it may become a powerful anti-authoritarian tool, something we've never seen in the human history. This is the original meaning behind the famous 1984 advertisement by Apple.

And we've been following the same path of liberties and decentralization down the road in the next 30 years. Although today, especially since after 2013/2016, computers and the Internet has somewhat restored its "oppressive" public image, Apple and Google becomes the new IBM, etc, but it's clear that the essence of the technology is still largely neutral, and we have many development in the decentralized, pro-freedom world.

The advent of free and open source software has mostly guaranteed that individuals could has the freedom to use the computer for any purpose. The discovery the public-key cryptography can protect personal communication against the most powerful nation-state on Earth, and in principle, allowing the construction of an anonymous communication system, which is believed by many as a mean to eliminate the state, partially or fully.

Recently, the proliferation of dirt-cheap electronics potentially allows a hardware hacker to manufacture semiconductors, electronic equipment, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing toolkit, handguns, or missiles in his/her backyard. Most hackers see this aspect of technology as a force of liberation. If some people, somehow, eventually managed to create a stateless world in virtual reality, it would be impressive but not surprising.

The question is, what about malicious actors? Many things a hacker would do can be classified as illegal activities, but his/her intend is not malicious, just a different ideology.

But there are truly malicious actors in all civilizations.

The damage that can be done by a malicious actor in a free world, is proportional to the level of (decentralized) technological development. And they can be something more harmful than individuals - rogue nation-state, organized terrorism, etc. WMDs can be created in days, not years.

And you absolutely cannot ban the technology, for example, cryptography, because it's needed for a free society.

So, the eventual outcome is either,

(A) The civilization is destroyed by a few malicious actors.

(B) The civilization becomes a dictatorship, possibly driven by mass surveillance, where most individual liberties are abandoned, we either have 1984, The Matrix, or Black Mirror.

(C) Neo-Luddism, where technology is abolished.

Or a combination of (B) and (C), found in many Science Fictions. Is that the eventually doomsday of a free technological civilization? Do we the technologists still have hopes? For example...

(D) Due to space colonization, any malicious use of technology can only have localized effects, allows many free civilizations to survive?

(E) Due to mind-uploading, nobody bothers to mess with the physical world?

Did I miss something?


Check out The White Plague by Frank Herbert. And Jerry Pournelle wrote a lot of novels about the CoDominium, an alliance between the US & USSR to suppress scientific research due to the instability it could cause.


On second thought, I suddenly understand why "the evil government" is so common in science fiction. It's not only about the well-known libertarian-leaning political stance of those authors, but also an extremely useful literary device to check and balance the effect of hi-tech to create a dynamic balance of force in-universe to ensure stability.

In particular, in some stories, the government plays a relatively ambiguous role - still being the oppressor, but also has an important duty of fighting terrorism, so that the world won't just collapse so easily because of a few mad men, and the hackers can keep having their parties.


Your second thought reminds me of Asimov's story, "The Dead Past".

The money quote, rot13-ed for spoilers:

"Abobql xarj nalguvat," fnvq Nenzna ovggreyl, "ohg lbh nyy whfg gbbx vg sbe tenagrq gung gur tbireazrag jnf fghcvqyl ohernhpengvp, ivpvbhf, glenaavpny, tvira gb fhccerffvat erfrnepu sbe gur uryy bs vg. Vg arire bppheerq gb nal bs lbh gung jr jrer gelvat gb cebgrpg znaxvaq nf orfg jr pbhyq."




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