Saturday, December 8, 2018

Defense Distributed and 3D Printed Guns (2018)

Image result for 3d printed gun

Defense Distributed, a nonprofit company based in Texas, sells blueprints online for people to 3d print their own firearms at home. The federal government has temporarily banned the company from selling these plans, despite computer code falling under First Amendment rights and the guns falling under Second Amendment rights. The main issue is that these firearms can be made by anyone with access to a 3d printer and because of that, they’re untraceable. On top of being untraceable, as they are made of plastic, they can evade most conventional security systems.

In August of 2018, the U.S. State Department issued a temporary restraining order to stop Defense Distributed from publishing the digital plans for 3D printed guns. The previous month, the company had challenged an interpretation of federal export law that had prohibited the “publication of plans for 3D guns” and the court reversed their stance. (Johnson, This ban came about after “eight states and the District of Columbia filed a joint lawsuit in federal court” in order to stop Defense Distributed from publishing the files. (Ou, These events caused gun rights advocates to publish their own similar files, citing that they were protected under the First Amendment. (Johnson,

Image result for 3d printer
According to Elaine Ou, a writer for Bloomberg: “Depending on the 3D printer, the parts would take most of a day to complete. This is assuming the operator even has access to a precision printer.” and “Even if made using today's best 3D printing, the guns still aren’t very good. Any material pliable enough to feed through a printer will have trouble surviving the pressure and temperature required to propel a bullet at thousands of feet per second.” (Ou, These two statements contradict the argument made by several states in the lawsuit against the U.S. Government: “A group of 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia sued the U.S. government in July, arguing that publishing the blueprints would allow criminals easy access to weapons.” (Bellon,

According to Individualism, which focuses on the business and how it operates, Defense Distributed was acting morally because they were operating within the confines of the law at the time and acted in their own best interests in order to maximize profit. 

Under Utilitarianism, an ethical way of thinking that focuses on maximizing the happiness of conscious being, Defense Distributed failed as their operation caused a lot of controversy, and raised both legal problems as well as moral problems, such as what is covered under free speech and can exceptions be made? 

Defense Distributed ethically passed Kantianism, a theory that respects the choices of individuals without influencing them or manipulating them. The business is based on selling blueprints and there was a demand for those blueprints. The consumers understood what they were buying and Defense Distributed did not hide any information.

Virtue Theory, the last the four ethical theories discussed here, probes the character of business. If the business is engaging in morally sound practices, it is more likely to be considered virtuous. Defense Distributed would be considered courageous, due to challenging the court over what they believed to be their rights. It would also be honest and temperament, as they never hid anything and acted responsibly. The last virtue is justice, and despite being a company that hasn’t done anything wrong legally, they do enable the production of weapons that can be used for violence, which would go against this theory.

In order for the Defense Distributed to keep operating and producing the same product, they need to change how the guns are being made. In order to make the guns detectable, part of the gun that is necessary for operation should be made of a large enough piece of metal. This leads into the gun being traceable. That same metal part should have a serial number somewhere on it. These two solutions can be resolved by a collaboration with either the government or a government sanctioned company, in order to receive a traceable serial number on a part that is then sent to a buyer of the blueprints. This course of action would solve the problems that have been brought up of guns coming into unwanted hands and getting past security measures.

This article was based on the research paper "Defense Distributed, 3D Printers, and the Constitution (2018)" written by Garrett Franklin

“About.” Defense Distributed,
Bellon, Tina. “3-D Printed Gun Blueprints for Sale after U.S. Court Order, Group Says.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 28 Aug. 2018,
Feldman, Noah. “The First Amendment Protects Plans for 3-D Guns.”, Bloomberg, 1 Aug. 2018,
Johnson, Alex. “Gun Rights Activists Post Plans for 3D Firearms after Judge's Order Blocking Them.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 1 Aug. 2018,
Kruzman, Diana, and Tea Kvetenadze. “Factbox: What Are 3-D Printed Guns?” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 31 July 2018,
Ou, Elaine. “Yes, Anyone Can Print a Gun at Home. But Not a Very Good One.”, Bloomberg, 1 Aug. 2018,

Young, Elise. “New Jersey Outlaws Untraceable ‘Ghost Guns,’ 3-D Printing of Firearms.”, Bloomberg, 8 Nov. 2018,

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

UFC's Unethical Domestic Violence 

Company Background
The UFC, Ultimate Fighting Championship, is an MMA sports promotion company that allows fighters from all over the world with different fighting styles compete for glory. The UFC was founded in America in 1993. The business was founded by Art Davie and Rorion Grace (mmawild). They place a series of fights that takes place around the world. Fighters would be put up against fighters that are suitable against each other to compete at different weights. Fighters will try to climb the ladder to challenge the best fighter of that weight division for the belt. There are a set of rules and regulations to provide a clean, fair match and to make it as safe as possible. Like boxing, they fight inside an octagon/cage instead of a ring and there are judges to provide the scores. The UFC is the most popular MMA promoting company that popularized mix-martial arts even though it was around for a long time.                                             Ethics Case Controversy
             The whole controversy all began because of Nurmagomedov and his crew decided to gang up on Lobov. According to a couple of videos, he brought his crew with him to confront Lobov and accused him of calling Nurmagomedov a pussy. He continued to deny that he called Nurmagomedov that. After the end of their conversation, he smacked Lobov in the head (MMA Focus). That’s what sparked McGregor’s hate towards Nurmagomedov and why he attacked the bus. Once he heard that his teammate was hurt by Nurmagomedov, he flew from Ireland to America in pursuit of vengeance. He brought his own group of people to search for Nurmagomedov. He went to in an area where all the buses are parked and looked for Nurmagomedov. Once McGregor spotted him, McGregor immediately grabbed 
whatever he can to try and hurt Nurmagomedov. He threw many objects at the bus, but what injured two fighters was when he threw a dolly at the bus. Security attempted to stop him from rampaging the bus to prevent any further injuries (rollingstone). Nurmagomedov left the bus to confront McGregor, but it was hard for him to get close to McGregor because there was security swarming around them. They both were furious and insulted each other. Nurmagomedov threatened to beat him up and responded angrily with, “I’d like to see you try.” This is what sparked the official fight between them inside the Octagon. Dana White, president of the UFC, decided to let them settle their matters by fighting it out. The world couldn’t wait to watch a fight between the two best lightweight division fighters. 

McGregor is known for trash talking during press conferences. 
Conor McGregor's bus attack
           This time, he went a bit too far with his trash talks because they were disrespectful. Trash talks are normal in the UFC, however, he insulted Nurmagomedov's family, religion, and country. There’s only so much a man could take, and McGregor went too far with his insults. Although trash talking is part of the sport, there are words and topics that shouldn’t be used as insults. He is known for getting into his opponent’s head and getting them angry with his insults, which is why he went so far with his trash talk. He brought alcohol to the press conference and offered a shot to Nurmagomedov when he was aware it was against his religion to drink; however, he persistently insists and pressured Nurmagomedov to have a shot of whisky (UFC). Someone’s family, religion, and country should not be talked bad about and should be respected. 
At the end of the fight, Nurmagomedov won by submission on the fourth round. After the fight, Dillon Danis was insulting him with very offensive language and racial slurs which made him jump over the cage (sportsjoe). He tried to kick Danis in the air but security was holding both of them back from fighting. McGregor tried to help Danis by trying to climb over the cage too, but he spots one of Nurmagomedov's cousin trying to join the fight as well. He punched Nurmagomedov's cousin to stop him from joining the fight. Two other of Nurmagomedov's teammates jumped into the cage to attack McGregor (complex). That wasn't the only brawl that happened; McGregor fans were fighting Nurmagomedov fans. 
Khabib Nurmagomedov jumps over cage


           Through the lens of Individualism, their goal is to maximize profit legally. Friedman’s theory approached prioritizing maximizing profits and is obligated to only do what’s best for the business. On the other hand, Machan’s theory is to do that but considering indirect goals that is not aimed at profiting and other goals. An Individualist would try their best to maximize profits, and the ideal way for the UFC to maximize profits while would want to keep McGregor and Nurmagomedov because of their popularity in the UFC. This wouldn’t be illegal since all the fighters who were involved in the controversy were dealt with lawfully. Conor McGregor was a two-time world champion who earned his two titles spontaneously. No one did what he did in UFC history, which makes him worth having because of his accomplishments. His accomplishments are what attracts fans to watch him fight. This would benefit the UFC because it would increase profits, but this would be considered unethical to the eyes of an Individualist because domestic violence is considered to be illegal.


             Utilitarianism considers everyone’s wellbeing and happiness, so they would do their best to maximize everyone’s happiness. The main people’s happiness that the UFC must consider are the fans and the fighters. Since the company is all about promoting fights, they should give the fans a fight they want to see. Many fans want a fighter to fight a specific fighter because they want to see an intense fight between them—usually they want to see the best against the best. It makes the event more interesting and entertaining because no one knows who will come at the top and makes betting more fun. The UFC did this with UFC 229; a fight between McGregor and Nurmagomedov. When their fans are entertained, they are satisfied with the events. But they failed in keeping the environment safe and keeping the environment safe should be prioritized. Individualism would increase security and add stricter rules to ensure their consumers feel safe. When someone feels safe, they feel happier because they won’t have to be worried about getting hurt and violence adds on to more hatred.

        Kantianism primarily focuses on letting customers decide what they want to do, but they would provide the information that is necessary for their customers. This method gives consumers more flexibility on their decision. Kantianism, in terms of the UFC, would not fire any fighters because they want to focus on having more fighters available for events, so the fans could decide whether to watch or not. It is by good will to let all the fighters not get fired because it gives room for entertainment and that’s the purpose of the UFC. A big part of sports tradition is betting on who will win. Kantianism would have two of the best fighters to compete and everyone will bet money on whoever they think will come out victorious, but to help fans decide who to bet on they will provide information and accomplishment of the fighters. They would respect a fan’s decision on who to bet on. Kantianism would not fire McGregor or any fighter because it would limit their decision on who they want to watch and limit who they want to bet on.            
            Kantianism strictly follows the formula of motivation. The formula of motivation gives a general rule of thumb a business should follow: being honest with fans to gain their trust, being honest because they like their fans, and being honest because it’s right. The UFC gave out the accomplishments of both fighters and showcased the main fighters’ training session publicly on stage. This is what a Kantian would’ve done. The fans got to see with their own eyes on how the fighters prepare a fight. They interview fighters and have them answer questions that are frequently asked or fan questions. That’s as honest as you can get when informing consumers about a product because the fighters are like the UFC’s products since they are what sells the fights. And when they give their own opinions, it’s coming from their experience and their own knowledge. The formula of humanity states that a business should treat their consumers in a way they would treat humanity. It has exactly the same meaning as “treat others the way you want to be treated.” In a Kantianism perspective, they would be honest with their fans by keeping their promises. For example, when they promote an event, the company should try their best to make that event happen on that time and day.     
            The four main virtues in business are: courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. Courage is identified as being risk-taking and willing to follow an idea or action. Dana White followed this by allowing the fight to happen. It’s a crazy fight and anything could happen. McGregor also demonstrated courage by agreeing to fight when he hadn’t fought professionally in the UFC for two years. Honesty was demonstrated a lot by giving the correct information on the fighters. Although the fight between the two was a disappointment to many fans because the UFC promised a good fight between the two. The fight wasn’t as great as many fans were expecting it to be. It felt like McGregor didn’t keep his word when he said he’ll give a good performance because he was utterly dominated my Nurmagomedov. This also aligns with temperance as it is defined as “reasonable expectations and desires.” Most people expected both fighters to give an outstanding performance, which shouldn’t be expected because anything could happen in sports. The brawl after the fight was totally unexpected and did not give the company justice. Part of justice is to have a good idea and fair play, and letting this fight happen was not a good idea. There was no fair play in the main event of UFC 229, but there was bad behavior and horrible sportsmanship. 
          The controversy sparked because there was beef between the two fighters. If these two fighters were not allowed to fight, this controversy wouldn't have happened but the UFC would not get their profits. To prevent these circumstances from ever occurring again, I believe the UFC should create more rules and regulations for the fighters during press conferences and fights. They should also try to become stricter if regulations are broken such as longer suspensions, firing, or fining fighters. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Buying and Selling of Non-Certified Helmets

Remaining Headstrong After Buying a Fake Helmet: The Buying and Selling of Non-Certified Helmets (November 25th, 2018)
Amazon has always been trusted by buyers to have quality items year after year. You may not have realized, but counterfeit and defective items still find their way onto the website through third-party vendors. Selling these products can have very negative and detrimental effects, such as in the case of selling something that is supposed keep one safe, such as a bicycle helmet.
Image result for broken bike helmet
 While courts are yet to find Amazon liable for selling said counterfeit products on its website because the company is able to argue that it is a platform for sellers, rather than Amazon being a lone seller itself, it has still faced legal issues. Amazon, through a spokesperson, has been quoted saying that the company “invests substantial resources into preventing counterfeit products from being sold on its site.” Despite this, Amazon suggests that it does take precautionary measures to make sure that these counterfeit items are not sold, but as it is a vendor website, it is nearly impossible at this point for them to catch all fraudulent items.
            As Amazon becomes more legitimate and trusted by the public, their products must be as well. For this reason, they must do even more to prevent these issues. Many ideas have circulated to increase this patrol. These include making the laws of counterfeit items to be much stricter. For example, it one were to buy a fraudulent bicycle helmet and reported it to authorities, the business should be shut down after the investigation of authenticity proves that the item is not up to code. There are many websites as well such as that of the Better Business Bureau that people can research the legitimacy of a given product or service. There is also the possible removal process of these listings. However, the removal can take days or even weeks.
 In the sense of individualism, or considering personal benefit to be the most important factor when making a decision, the focus is on that of single person rather than the whole. While at first glance it may seem like there is no driving force of individualism within this ethical dilemma, there ultimately is a reason that people create these counterfeit helmets. However, this can be viewed as a very negative implementation of individualism. These vendors make a large profit directly off these helmets that are made for a very cheap price. On an individualist scale, the creator and vendors of these helmets only see the money they make rather than the possible detrimental effects on others. This level of personal benefit is the basis of individualism- economic Darwinism. Applying the theory of utilitarianism to this topic offers an interesting perspective in the sense that the theory itself it the determination of right from wrong through focusing on the outcomes a certain situation. This moral framework has been used to justify the social correctness of many issues. This can be applied to the selling of counterfeit helmets in the sense that the proof of its unethically is rather blatant; one person’s desire for wealth should allow them to “play God” in the sense that they can potentially severely injure or even kill another human being who believes they are in safe hands. The theory of Kantianism focuses on that of fulfilling a given duty. One can look at this situation as Amazon merely doing what it was created to do: sell goods to the desired audiences via the internet. However, this point of view is a great disservice as the true focus should be on the idea that the creators and vendors, including Amazon, are in no way fulfilling their allotted task of creating a helmet that protects humans from injury in case of emergency.
However, while this system has remained flawed for this long, at a certain point it sadly must become a “buyer beware” situation, despite the fact that it should be necessary for every single manufactured bicycle helmet to be checked for safety and authenticity. For this reason, they must do even more to guarantee that the necessary guidelines are met when creating these helmets. It is important for companies such as Amazon to make sure they are ensuring quality products as it can truly save lives.
Written by,
            John Arceri
Armstrong, Warren. “Government Officials Sounding Alarm about Counterfeit Bike Helmets.” ABC30 Fresno, 16 Nov. 2018,
Bicycle Helmet Statistics, 
“Helmet Safety: Keep a Lid On It.” Rush University Medical Center, 
“How to Stop the Sale of Counterfeit Goods at Online Marketplaces.” Yellow Brand Protection,
Owens, Jeremy C. “Amazon Earnings Explode to Record Thanks to Surprising e-Commerce Profit, Stock Gains.” MarketWatch, MarketWatch, 27 July 2018,
Tyler, Jeff. “Fake Bike Helmets: Cheap But Dangerous.” NPR, NPR, 16 Sept. 2018,

The Truth about Twitter: From Fake News to Total Censorship.

Twitter issued a statement in January of 2018 which declared their policy-written power. The blog post clarified the ability to delete any comment they wish- be it from a head-of-state or your Aunt Sally. (3) Twitter disclosed they would not, however, delete an entire account- unlike Facebook. (1) Twitter argues, they were not issuing a threat; The company wishes to foster a healthy and safe environment, free from “trolls” “bots” and types of ‘phobic harassment. (2) The social media site posted, “Today, we use policies, human review processes, and machine learning to help us determine how Tweets are organized and presented in communal places like conversations and search.” (2) Specifically, the company plans to monitor for multiple account sign-ups under the same email.

This implementation has been twisted by our Commander and Chief, backed by the Attorney General. In 2016, electoral candidate Trump made claims that social media platforms were restricting conservative views- by “rigging” search results. (8) This stems from; the removal of Alex Jones from Facebook; claims that google “rigged” search results to limit conservative information; as well as over 50,000 Russian “bots” that posted propaganda to try to skew the 2016 presidential election. (5) Although censorship is the correct verbiage for twitter’s actions, its definition has been taken to the extreme- rather than what it means literally. Twitter is simply preventing users from offending the majority of the site’s community, by monitoring and removing harmful content. (2)
The question remaining, is what ethical codes were broken, if any? Kantianism argues for truth, that information be available to all- good or bad. Individualism’s main goal is to maximize profit within the limits of the law. Utilitarianism’s ethical framework is of overall happiness, it is a business’ responsibility to ensure the most pleasure over an elongated period of time. Virtue theory is founded in acting in such a way so as to avoid negative character traits, such as hate and dishonesty. 
According to the Chicago Tribune, Twitter makes money by selling advertisement space, and advertisements are aligned with user preferences. (9) Therefore, more users generally means more revenue. Twitter’s idea to monitor posting and ensure a safe environment is in theory supposed to prevent the loss of users, and thus keep turning a profit. So in theory, the move to censor feeds is ethical in the case of individualism. 
Utilitarianism would urge for more measures to be taken in order to remove such offensive content. It would even take twitter’s plans further and perhaps block Trump’s account to maximize overall happiness. As twitter is enforcing censorship now, it may be minimal but the effort is in place to maximize user happiness.
Kantianism would argue that the information should be available site-wide, no matter the content and that people should be treated as an ends in themselves, not a mere means. It should be up to the users themselves to report content as offensive. It is not the company’s responsibility to define what is acceptable or not, because not everyone will have the same standards of acceptable behavior. In this case, twitter is being unethical in the sense that the public has not had the chance to decide for themselves what may be acceptable or not. 
Twitter attempted to keep within ethical boundaries to an extent. With the exception of Kantianism, the company has overall found an ethical balance in censorship. However, their implementation was weak initially, as they made very little public statements regarding their new procedures- outside of their own blog. It is important to address the media before it addresses the company! This gives the upper hand so to speak. Although twitter would have to call out the fact that their current implementations are failing, the important part is that they are fixing the problem. This is how any great company succeeds; honesty and ethics are balanced upon the shoulders of the operations.