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Hidden “feature” of Colour Printers… they can track you down.

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posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 06:55 PM
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Dutch police forces tracked down counterfeiters with the help of a little known feature. It seems that colour printers print the serial number of the print engine on every copy made on a machine.



Although modern printers are distinguished by the label their manufacturers give them, the insides aren't that different from one another. This is because their print engines are made by only a few companies, such as Toshiba Corp., Canon Inc. and Ricoh Co. Ltd. It is the engine that has its own identity that can be traced.

It appears that although consumers aren't aware of the hidden code on their color prints, government agencies are. And they are using this knowledge in their battle against counterfeiters -- with help from well-known printer manufacturers.

Sources familiar with the printer industry confirm this built-in security is in fact a unique number that is printed on every color page. The code, in yellow, can be printed on a line as thin as 0.1 millimeter.

With help from manufacturers like Canon, authorities can gather information about the printer used in counterfeit crimes. The number tells them in which country a specific printer has been delivered, and to what dealer. The dealer then can lead them to the local computer store where the printer was sold. source


The European Digital Rights Organisation reports that printer manufacturer Cannon was recently awarded the Big Brother award in Germany and that:



Members of the Dutch Parliament have raised the issues on 27 October with Minister Brinkhorst of economical affairs, demanding that he should publish a list of all the involved printer manufacturers, explain why this “feature” is kept secret, and how he is encouraging the manufactures to start a public awareness campaign. source


Another article details the reason Cannon was awarded the Big Brother award:



This year, Canon was awarded a Big Brother award in the Engineering category. Its colour photocopiers print an invisible serial number of the photocopier on every copy made by it, which can be used to trace it back to the machine. In combination with the product receipt provided by the retailer to Canon, the number can be used to trace the location of the copier. The police and authorities could then survey copy shops in the area to, for example, discover the author of leaflets or organisers of demonstrations.

However, the award to Canon was based on other product features, such as its pattern recognition technology. Printers, scanners and copiers fitted with it can halt operation if “prohibited” documents are being printed or copied. But who decides what is and isn’t allowed? The application of this technology has serious implications for the right to freedom of opinion and of the press.

In the “Work” category, the supermarket chain Lidl was declared to be typical of many other companies “for the almost slave-like handling of its employees” and awarded an “Oscar” for the surveillance methods it employs against its workers… more


It’s amazing what kind of technology and business practices are being implemented between corporations and governments in the name of fighting crime or terrorism. One website that tracks the proliferation of these practices is Privacy International where you can also read about the Big Brother Awards from several countries. Check 'em out.

So…

Who wants to go print these flyers for me…


.




posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 07:09 PM
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Woah, thats weird. I have a Canon printer. I was wondering if that applies to home printers and if so, is it possible to read the invisible serial in any way.



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 07:11 PM
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I will glady print anything you ask Gools...Bring'em on buddy. I have a ton of ink and await your command.



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 07:17 PM
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The European Digital Rights article states that the practice is widespread and applies to household equipment.

If it's a laser printer of recent vintage chances are that it has this feature.

None of the articles that I found mentioned how to see this pale yellow print and it's only 0.1 millimeter high.

Maybe a UV lamp (blacklight)?

Edit: brain fart



[edit on 11/16/2004 by Gools]



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 07:33 PM
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This is interesting! Fortunatly I still use an old b/w printer that cant print .1mm lines.


But having just purchased a Cannon digital camera, I have to wonder what identifiers are added to my image files. ( Maybe I wont publish those ufo pictures after all, for my protection.
)


But the fact that printer output can be used as evidence against you, whether or not YOU made the print, is concerning.


edit-added m to make mm

[edit on 16-11-2004 by smirkley]



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 08:35 PM
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so what if someone steals your printer (or other applicance) then?



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 08:44 PM
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I'm wondering if it is all color type printers, both laser and inkjet.

And, I wonder how it affects 99% of the population? Unless of course, you use your printer to send threats to high government officials, which is never a good idea.

BTW, gools, once again you've come up with some interesting info.
Privacy International is worth checking out from time to time.



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 09:04 PM
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Originally posted by invader_chris
Woah, thats weird. I have a Canon printer. I was wondering if that applies to home printers and if so, is it possible to read the invisible serial in any way.

i think that all printers leave some sort of unique mark in the pages, whether it be a tiny pixle sized dot or an annoying line thru the middle of the page. these are not meant to be there of course but i have heard of police tracing a murder to someone based on tiny dots left on a so called "suicide note" but the person killed had a printer that left different marks..



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 09:09 PM
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What if you buy a printer from a yaaaaad sale? Would the person you bought it from get in trouble if you printed "off" stuff?



posted on Nov, 16 2004 @ 09:36 PM
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I used to work in a copy shop where we had $50,000 color copiers. My boss made it clear to me that the machines could reprint bills, but that they also imprinted codes in the paper so that the bills could be traced back to the machine. Obviously this would be useful to deter counterfeiters because these type of machines wouldn't be changing hands and the govt. could easily trace the bill back to the machines and who had used them. This was about 7 years ago so this is not new technology.

I don't know if personal printers use the codes but the evidence would probably be useless even if they did. How could they prove someone owned that particular printer at the time the money was printed? It would be very difficult.

Also I recently had a friend involved in some trouble with counterfeiting. A guy he knew had printed some money and gave it to him as a "joke" one night at a bar. He didn't know it was fake and tried to use it. After about four court appearances he finally cleared the mess up, but he was facing some serious trouble.

Not ONE person ever asked where the money came from or who printed it, they just cared who used it. So I cant imagine they would use this technology except in high profile cases. Besides, if you just by a printer second-hand, noone will ever know who owns it anyways and you can print whatever you want safely.



posted on Nov, 17 2004 @ 02:33 AM
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I think they would have to match the printer with the code on the paper.

Therefore, if you produce something and don't want to be traced, then sell your printer, or throw it way removing the evidence.



posted on Nov, 17 2004 @ 02:58 AM
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I'fe you print something without the yellow toner then you should be fine.....
Becouse at work we have a canon CPS700 (a high end machine) and the
guy how installed it said the code was only in the yellow becouse its the
weakest color.....



posted on Nov, 17 2004 @ 03:01 AM
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You know, I remember reading an article about this about 4 or 5 years
ago. If I can find it still, I'll post it on ATS.
So it's certainly not a new thing, although who knows how much it
has been refined by now



posted on Nov, 17 2004 @ 05:05 PM
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I have a story that may relate to this. This happened about 10 years ago, my step dad was working for a computer company, cant reamember but I think computer city. He's real intelegant with electronics and computers in general. Well something happened with this company and some people got laid off, but before this happened, the company gave some printers to it's workers who lacked one or had a really bad or old printer, my stepdad being one of them. So he comes home one day with a Hewlett Packard laser jet printer that printed in black and white. However, sure enough about a month or 2 later he became one of the laid off. This came out of the blue for him and the others that lost their jobs, so he decided to do some investigation. He came home one day and was real frantic. He told my mom that the printers were stolen and the former company he worked for was in a little trouble. His guess was that said company, handed out the stolen printers to some of their workers to get rid of them. But what boggled me, was how he was acting, he was really worried, and before I knew it, he was taking the printer apart. Soon after, he removed a chip, it looked about the size of a square salt cracker, and he put it on the grill out side and burned it. To this day, we still have the printer and it works like any ol printer would. I'd forgoten about this whole incident before I saw this, kinda makes ya think.



posted on Nov, 17 2004 @ 05:13 PM
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I thinks this practice stinks. In the old times in the Soviet Union, they used to embed codes in the typwriters (micro dots on the printing surface) such that each had a unique ID. I thought that sucked. Now I moved to the US and we have it here. Fantastic, komrad.



posted on Nov, 17 2004 @ 11:16 PM
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while i'm not surprised i am pissed off. i do remember hearing about cameras embedding code into images. i heard it was called electronic water marks. each camera had a unique code and each image can be traced back to the specific carmera.



posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 05:53 AM
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So, it is only Canon that uses this technology or every printer manufacturer does this? Also does this apply to ink jet printers?

[edit on 18-11-2004 by Agnis]



posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 06:00 AM
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Originally posted by smirkley

But having just purchased a Cannon digital camera, I have to wonder what identifiers are added to my image files. ( Maybe I wont publish those ufo pictures after all, for my protection.
)

[edit on 16-11-2004 by smirkley]


Open the JPG-files from the camera in Notepad...

You will find the make and model of the camera in cleartext, the date and time taken and somwtimes your name (in case you have input this in the camera, certain brands lets you "tag" your camera with your name)

// k



posted on Nov, 18 2004 @ 06:23 AM
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So your saying my printer is a tool of the NWO!?!?!?


*shoots printer with .22*



posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 02:33 PM
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Originally posted by infinite
So your saying my printer is a tool of the NWO!?!?!?


*shoots printer with .22*





I have a Brother multifunction fax, copier, printer......

.22 aint gonna cut it!


Later,
Reason




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