18 October 2005

Conspiracy theorists gather 'round! (exhibit A)

A potential threat to privacy, reported by Matthew Wheeland at Alternet.org, claims that "if you own a Xerox DocuColor -- and many other kinds of color printers -- then every document you print is uniquely tagged to trace right back to your desk."

Can the information be shared? According to Wheeler's post, "Xerox, the Secret Service, and other printer manufacturers have confirmed that their machines are built to include a coded pattern of yellow dots, invisible to the naked eye, that indicate the date, time and printer's serial number for any color laser printout."

An Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney, Lee Tien, said "This technology makes it easier for governments to find dissenters. Even worse, it shows how the government and private industry make backroom deals to weaken our privacy by compromising everyday equipment like printers. The logical next question is: what other deals have been or are being made to ensure that our technology rats on us?"


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