How the Government Finally Ruins 3D Printing
The video nasties moment finally came for 3D printers when it was discovered that Katie Evans, a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl at a sought-after academy in the Home Counties, had sent volumetric scans of her own genitals to a boy, who in turn passed the shapefile around his classmates for any of them to churn out on home-bake 3D printers.
Naturally, the idea of two dozen horny teenage boys walking around school all day with their fingers wedged inside a silicone replica of her daughter’s quim didn’t sit well with mother. Frustrated by the school’s inability to put an end to the situation, she made a Faustian pact with the Daily Mail which, presented with a story hoisted on its twin obsessions of Middle England outrage and jailbait teens, was only too keen to warn of the dangers of kids voxelling their private parts and proxy-fucking one another across a digital divide in a spunk-and-disease free orgy of teenage exuberance.
The Prime Minister, adrift in the polls and needing to claw back the socially conservative heartlands from the rash of crackpot Little Englander parties that sprung up in the wake of UKIP, saw an opportunity in this and proclaimed that from now on, the manufacturers of 3D printers would have to include locks that detected any sexual content and refused to print it unless an adult was present and signed up to a National Sex Paraphernalia Manufacturers Registry. These proposals were lambasted as utterly unworkable by anyone and everyone familiar with the devices, and moreover, they warned that thousands of legitimate designs were likely to be caught up as false positives by this theoretical lock, and thousands more would slip through entirely.
The Prime Minister, warming to his theme, announced that new laws would be drafted immediately to make explicit shapefiles of underaged youths illegal, ignoring the fact that such representations already fell well within the boundaries of existing child pornography laws. The new laws were sufficiently broad that children’s hospitals immediately suspended every skin graft and prosthetic limb printing operation until the shapefiles could be cleared by departmental lawyers.
In the meantime, Katie Evans broke out from under her mother’s umbrella and started capitalising on her adolescent sexuality, all rush of hormones and sexual notoriety, a Traci Lords for the 21st century. Soon everybody wanted a piece of her — and no prizes for guessing which piece. Although the shapefile was illegal, the law hadn’t caught up with the physical goods. There was money to be made, and soon every newsagent and sex shop had a crate of bootleg Katie Evans specials under their counter. Businessmen slipped them into their suitcases before work, construction workers hunched over them in festering Portakabins. Grown women bought them by the bucketload, bittersweet totems of their youth. They lived vicariously through Evans as they gripped the plastic between their legs and forfeited their reborn virginity to thrusting husbands. With Katie Evans as a surrogate, they could be maidens on their wedding night ten years late. Through Evans, they could consummate a revisionist act that erased all previous sexual conquest. That’s love for you.
Eventually the world grew tired of Katie Evans, and found new distractions to obsess over. Sensing the shift of the tide, the schoolgirl sank into the post-viral celebrity fugue of litigious breakdown, suing everyone involved, mother included, complaining that she’d never been adequately compensated for the several million silicone replicas of her genitals that were now buried like guilty memories in bottom drawers across the country. An abortive version of the Prime Minister’s sex-print bill limped quietly through both Houses, such an embarrassing hangover of desperate poll-jacking that nobody except junior ministers forging a career on Christian values would be seen dead next to it. After the vote, a small department was set up in Whitehall where several million pounds of taxpayer money is thrown away every year by civil servants attempting to square the circle of shapefile-censorship. A year later, an ageing Tracy Emin unveiled a twenty foot high printout of her own sagging vulva titled “Katie Evans You Bitch”. Nobody cared.
Meanwhile, the kids are using immersive haptic rigs and anonymised signals distributed through mesh-networked household appliances to broadcast their own sexual antics directly into the heads of any voyeur with an internet-linked fridge.