What ransom note ?
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Thread: What ransom note ?

  1. #1
    Senior Member hesperus's Avatar
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    What ransom note ?

    Check this out :

    Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents

    Practice embeds hidden, traceable data in every page printed.

    Jason Tuohey, Medill News Service
    Monday, November 22, 2004

    WASHINGTON--Next time you make a printout from your color laser printer, shine an LED flashlight beam on it and examine it closely with a magnifying glass. You might be able to see the small, scattered yellow dots printed there that could be used to trace the document back to you.

    According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce. Governments, including the United States, already use the hidden markings to track counterfeiters.

    Peter Crean, a senior research fellow at Xerox, says his company's laser printers, copiers and multifunction workstations, such as its WorkCentre Pro series, put the "serial number of each machine coded in little yellow dots" in every printout. The millimeter-sized dots appear about every inch on a page, nestled within the printed words and margins.

    "It's a trail back to you, like a license plate," Crean says.

    The dots' minuscule size, covering less than one-thousandth of the page, along with their color combination of yellow on white, makes them invisible to the naked eye, Crean says. One way to determine if your color laser is applying this tracking process is to shine a blue LED light--say, from a keychain laser flashlight--on your page and use a magnifier.
    http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,118664,00.asp

  2. #2
    Senior Member hesperus's Avatar
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    Noticed this was old news. Sorry if its a repeat. Quite a surprise to me, though. It ought to be more commonly known.


    Since then, he says, many other companies have adopted the practice.
    I take it he means other related companies, but I wonder what kind of pressure is on, say, CDR and DVDR makers to do something similar, if they don't already ?

  3. #3
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    It ought to be more commonly known.
    I heard about it years ago... infact im pretty sure its been posted before.

    Next time you're in a government office, look around at the printers. Bet you won't find many ink jets!
    Yeah just like any type of perfume or deodorant isn't allowed in the office because this would give off a distinct chemical signature, right?

  4. #4
    Senior Member hesperus's Avatar
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    My bad. I see the exact article.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    hesperus don't worry, I am sure it was posted ages before you joined

    As I recall, all this does is match a document to a printer. That is a long way from matching it to an individual? Hey, forensics have been able to match typewriters for years?

    Without wishing to detract from Spesh's sense of humour:

    Next time you're in a government office, look around at the printers. Bet you won't find many ink jets!
    As a taxpayer I am very glad of this.........................having both laser and inkjet printers I can assure you that the cost of running the inkjet will pay for the laserjet very quickly

    I remember my first HP laserjet, it ran for 4 years on one cartridge............and I was buying maybe 6 cartridges a year for the Epson
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  6. #6
    Senior Member hesperus's Avatar
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    Actually, only a couple of months before I joined.

    It doesn't only match a document to a printer -- manufacturers can match the printer to a person or company.

    Xerox and the government have a good relationship. "The U.S. government had been on board all along--they would actually come out to our labs"
    The secret collusion is the scary part. I am not afraid of having documents traced back to me. It just bothers me that they can be without my knowing it.

    Its spyware for printers. Even if its more or less harmless I don't want it there.

    What about this : In the name of curbing kiddie porn, all digital images will be encoded with the serial number of the camera that took them -- but you won't be told that when you buy the camera. Is it such a big step ?

  7. #7
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    manufacturers can match the printer to a person or company.
    they can if the product was registered, not resold, etc.

    and matching the prnter to a ocmpnay is far from an exact match. we have clients with offices across the state (and on the mainland) and they print to remote printers all the time (instead of faxing since hey us "paperless" offices) these companys have HUNDREDS of employees with access to the printers. so its a step closer, but far from proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
    Everyone is going to die, I am just as good of a reason as any.

    http://think-smarter.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    It doesn't only match a document to a printer -- manufacturers can match the printer to a person or company.
    I am with XTC46 on this one. Most printer sales are through wholesale or retail outlets. There is also the whole second user market.

    The whole idea behind the technology is prevention of forgery. If you detect forged documents, you can tell that they came from the same source. You still have to find the printer and the people using it. It is a bit like ballistics from a gun, in that it provides a forensic link.

    It is far too incomplete and optional to be considered an invasion of privacy.

    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

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