View Full Version : Be careful where you print those ransom notes.

07-30-2007, 06:37 PM
From Yahoo's Tech section:

Find Out If Your Printer Is Spying on You
Wed Jul 18, 2007 4:20PM EDT


Did you know that many (in fact, most) color laser printers are spying on you whenever you print a document? Though you may not have heard the news, the discovery was announced in late 2005. Manufacturers embed a pattern of tiny yellow dots on printed pages. The dots are too small to be seen with the naked eye (especially since they're yellow, see the above photo to see what they actually look like), but under a microscope and blue light they're revealed. The dots are placed in a pattern unique to each printer, and since most color laser printers are purchased through well-documented service providers or direct from the manufacturer, it's simple to track any printed page back to the owner of the printer.

The original idea was obviously to help the government track down currency counterfeiters, since any phony money would be tagged with the yellow dots and would be easily trackable back to the source. But there are also signs of abuse, with the FBI reportedly using the technology to keep tabs on who's printing material for groups like the ACLU and Greenpeace. That's a little scary... and important to remember if you've considering printing a whistleblowing tip or any missive you'd prefer to leave anonymous on a color laser.

This (http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/list.php) is a list of which printers put tracking information on your documents. If you're worried. Which you should be. You creep.

Wheres the beef?
07-30-2007, 06:57 PM
What if I paid for my printer in cash or bought it from someone on craigslist? They might know what printer printed something but they have no idea to accurately tell where the printer is at any given moment. We have way more important privacy issues to be worrying about.

07-30-2007, 07:01 PM
"Worry about" is a little strong. If you worried about everything out there that there is to worry about (like national privacy issues) you'd never get anything done. It's less about worrying, more about acknowledging.

But whatever. I just thought it was interesting.

07-30-2007, 07:26 PM
im going to take a shit in the next canon copy machine i encounter and see how it reacts...