Beating Crime With Printers

Perhaps it could be naive to think how the modern day governments would visit monitoring every single move on the path. Pause for any minute to contemplate what the next phase of tracking could include. The answer is laser printers. If you think a document out of your colour laser printer doesn’t carry your reputation, reconsider.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) claims which it has cracked the tracking codes embedded in Xerox Corporation’s DocuColor laser printers. Such codes are simply among the many ways manufacturers employ technology to assist governments fight currency counterfeiting.

The United States government is allegedly associated with a number of other companies in separate anti-counterfeiting programmes supposed to prevent currency from being scanned and printed. The U.S. government, however, isn’t the only country teaming using the printing industry to fight counterfeiters. A few experts believe how the Dutch government can also be using similar anti-counterfeiting methods through Canon?s encoding technology.

Researchers in the U.S. have uncovered patterns of yellow dots arranged in 15 by 8 grids and printed repeatedly over every colour page. The dots, however, are visible only with a magnifier or under blue light, which then causes the yellow dots to look black. The code looks like a grid of microscopic yellow dots, each just one millimeter in diameter. These millimeter-sized dots appear about every inch on a printed page, nestled inside the words and margins. By analyzing various test pages printed by supporters worldwide, researchers discovered that many of the dots correspond to the printers’ serial numbers, and also other dots make reference to the starting time and date of the printing.

Consider two documents ? one carrying the author’s name and one designed to be anonymous. By comparing tv series club , it is usually determined perhaps the two documents were printed from the same printer, even when Xerox reveals nothing in regards to a customer’s serial number. The EFF is now studying printers off their well-known manufacturers sticking with the same tracking codes, but whose keys remain secret.

Unlike inkjet printers, laser printers, copiers, and fax machines and copiers fire a laser by having a mirror and series of lenses to embed the document or image over a page. Such devices range from just a little over ?80 to greater than ?1000, and they are made for both home and office use.

Peter Crean, a senior research fellow at Xerox, says the corporation pioneered fraxel treatments about 20 years ago because several countries had expressed concern about selling the printers inside their country. The move targeted at allaying fears that their colour copiers might be easily accustomed to counterfeit bills.

It is believed that since that time, a great many other companies have adopted the practice. According to experts, several printer companies secretly encode the serial number as well as the manufacturing code of these colour laser printers and colour copiers on every document those machines produce.

Laser-printing technology can make it extremely simple to counterfeit money and documents, as well as the dots, according to supporters, available in most printers for years, allow police officers agencies to spot and find counterfeiters.

However, a similar dots could also be useful to track a document to anyone or business that printed it. Although the technology has been present for a long time, printer companies have not been required to notify customers from the feature.

If this practice disturbs you, don’t bother attempting to disable the encoding mechanism of your printer?you’ll likely break it. The coding device can be a chip located deep to the machine, near the laser. It embeds the dots once the document is approximately 20 billionths of a second from printing.

Although nobody has an estimate of how many laser printers, copiers, and multifunction devices track documents, experts believe that the practice is commonplace among major printer companies. The U.S. Secret Service would agree which it finds the printing industry quite useful to police force.

According to sources, counterfeiting cases are exposed to the Secret Service, which checks the documents, determines the manufacturer and serial number in the printer, and contacts the company. Some, like Xerox, possess a customer database, that they share with the government.

Many everyone is apprehensive that this American government?s tracking initiative may lead to a life threatening breach of privacy. The government has recently succeeded in persuading more colour laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. Without your knowledge or permission, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you utilize in everyday life could turn into a tool for government surveillance. And what’s worse, there isn’t any laws to stop its abuse.