Big Brother

2005101800 Big-Brother-Bush

Researchers at the EFF have apparently confirmed that certain color printers put hidden marks in the pages they print, and they have decoded the marks for at least one printer model. The marks from Xerox DocuColor printers are encoded in an array of very small yellow dots that appear all over the page. The dots encode the date and time when the page was printed, along with what appears to be a serial number for the printer. You can spot the dots with blue light and a 10X magnifier, and you can then decode the dots to get the date, time, and serial number. Many other printers appear to do something similar; the EFF has a list.

The privacy implications are obvious. It’s now possible to tell when a document was printed, and when two documents were printed on the same printer. It’s also possible, given a document and a printer, to tell whether the document was printed on that printer. Link

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