From containers to luggage: how Digital DIY may also challenge shipping and travel

(to know and discuss the conclusions of our H2020 research, please participate to the DiDIY Final Conference "Digital Makers – Making a Difference?")

Digital DIY (DiDIY) makes personal, on-demand fabrication, of any sort of products much easier. This fact has potentially very deep impact on every human activity, and every sector of the economy, an impact that may only grow in the next years. As an example of this trend, we would like to point your attention to two distinct, but related negative possibilities.

One of these possibilities is the one that international shipments via container may be "threatened by counterfeit 3D printed cargo seals" (the ones in the picture above): containers are "officially sealed" with security devices. Today, whoever can 3D print a replica of those seals may also] break into the container, steal or alter its content, and then apply the 3D printed seal to hide their action until it's too late, also making "nearly impossible to identify when or where the theft occurred".

The same type of attack, just to ordinary luggage instead of containers, is technically made very easy by the very existence of the TSA "master key": having ONE key for all luggages means that it only takes one counterfeit copy of that key to open them all. But we already know that it is already easy to "3d print working copies of the TSA key".

It is still too early to evaluate the full effects that these new possibilities may have on shipping, travel and, above all, all the associated regulations. Some preliminary evaluations of these issues are contained, however, in these two reports of the DiDIY Project: