Tuesday, October 18, 2005

EFF Reveals Tracking Codes In Xerox Printers

Next time your at the office printing a document from a color laser printer, you might want to remember this...
Just because the printed document dosen't carry your name, dosen't mean that no one is tracing it back to you! The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that it has cracked the tracking codes that are embedded in Xerox Corporation's DocuColor laser printers. These codes are only one way that manufacturer's use technology to help goverments fight money counterfeiting.
Lee Tien, a EFF senior staff attorney said, " Underground democracy movements...will always need the anonymity of simple paper documents, but this technology makes it easier for goverments to find dissenters. Even worse, it shows how the goverment and private industry make backroom deals to weaken our privacy by compromising everyday equipment like printers."
Researchers have found patterns of yellow dots arranged in 15 by 8 grids and printed repeatedly over every color page. The dots are only visable with a magnifying glass or under a blue light, which causes the yellow dots to look black.
Researchers analyzing test pages printed out at various FedEx Kinko's locations, found that some of the dots correspond to the printers' serial numbers. Other dots refer to the time and date of the printing.
The Secret Service says that this technology simply makes it harder to use that equpiment for illegal activity of reproducing U.S. currency.
Xerox spokesman Bill McKee said, " the company does not routinely share any information about it's customers", though the company does respond to requests from law enforcement.
Adobe Systems,Inc has also acknowledged, quietly though, adding the goverment software to it's Photoshop software at the request of international bankers and regulators.
David Skidmore, spokesman at the Federal Reserve Board, has said that the technology called Counterfeit Deterrence System is aimed mostly at personal computers and ink-jet printers, not the fancy, high-end printers like DocuColor.
--This reeks of Big Brother trying to track and find dissenters. Orwell is turning in his grave.