Advocates crack printer identifier code

Oct 19, 2005

A privacy group says it cracked the code used by color printers to leave an identifying watermark on documents that can be traced by the U.S. government.

Cyber sleuths at San Francisco's Electronic Frontier Foundation announced this week that the virtually invisible lines of tiny yellow dots laid down on a page identify not only the individual printer but the date and time the document was printed.

The tracking system was devised to allow the Secret Service to track down currency counterfeiters; however, the foundation warned that the technology could be used as well to identify users who print flyers or other documents critical of the government.

"Even worse," said EFF Attorney Lee Tien, "it shows how the government and private industry make backroom deals to weaken our privacy. The logical next question is: what other deals have been or are being made to ensure that our technology rats on us?"

The foundation said it had only unraveled the code on the Xerox DocuColor printer but knows it exists on machines from other manufacturers.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Building synthetic plants

Jun 20, 2014

A movement is under way that will fast-forward the design of new plant traits. It takes inspiration from engineering and the software industry, and is being underpinned in Cambridge and Norwich by an initiative ...

Students design artificial kidney with 3-D printing

May 12, 2014

(Phys.org) —Three-dimensional printing has garnered coverage in the popular press for its application in the custom manufacturing of tools and mechanical parts. But six School of Engineering seniors have ...

Miami looks beyond beaches, bikinis to tech

May 05, 2014

Famed for its beaches, cruises and cafecitos, South Florida is now angling to become one of the next U.S. tech hot spots by leveraging its role as the gateway to Latin America and luring northern entrepreneurs with cheap ...

Recommended for you

Berkeley team explores sound for indoor localization

1 hour ago

The global positioning system, or GPS, has its limitations—namely, it cannot work indoors. Potential solutions for indoor positioning continue to fire up the imaginations of scientists. The latest news ...

Tesla loss widens as it ramps up expansion plan

2 hours ago

US electric automaker Tesla Motors reported Thursday a widening loss in the past quarter amid record revenues as it ramped up plans for a giant battery plant for future vehicles.

CIA director reverses himself on Senate spying

2 hours ago

For months, CIA Director John Brennan had stood firm in his insistence that the CIA had little to be ashamed of after searching the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee. His defiant posture quickly ...

Tesla says decision on battery factory months away

2 hours ago

(AP)—Electric car maker Tesla Motors said Thursday that it is preparing a site near Reno, Nevada, as a possible location for its new battery factory, but is still evaluating other sites.

User comments : 0