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ATS: Laser Printers Mark Documents for Tracing

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posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 12:17 PM
Several major laser printer manufacturers have been quietly implementing a technology that allows documents to be traced back to the printer that produced them. The printers in question mark the pages that they print with a serial number that signifies the printer. This along with the demand to register products to receive a warranty would enable governments to trace a printed document, such as a counterfeited money, back to an individual.

Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents
Next time you make a printout from your color laser printer, shine an LED flashlight beam on it and examine it closely with a magnifying glass. You might be able to see the small, scattered yellow dots printer there that could be used to trace the document back to you.

According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce. Governments, including the United States, already use the hidden markings to track counterfeiters.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

What is troubling to many consumer rights groups is that these products do not give any notice to the consumer that each document printed will be traceable and can be tracked if desired. This whole idea really has me wondering. What about ink jet printers? Is that random spot of ink just a spot of ink or is it a traceable code.

If you've received a package in the mail lately it probably has been marked with what's called a 2D bar code. It appears to be a random collection of dots, but is actually a serial number for the postal company. A high quality printer could produce the same mark in a much smaller area. Makes you wonder how many of the newer high quality printers are planting tracing patterns on their work.

Related ATS Discussions:
Hidden “feature” of Colour Printers… they can track you down

[edit on 23-11-2004 by dbates]

posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 12:30 PM
This technology can be used to track anybody down (not just counterfeiters) such as political organisation groups that print flyers etc.

I started an ATS thread last week discussing this technology:

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

posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 12:40 PM
I can understand how companies want to mark documents that they mail to their clients, but to blindly mark every document, no matter what it's use is a slight bit discomforting. Of course only the trusted government officials can ask the manufacturer for the information, but that doesn't make it sound much better to me.

posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 03:40 PM
One thing Americans are good at is complacency. They can do it because we let them. And don't think it will stop there. Start small, work up big gradually. RFID (radio frequency identification) chips are coming in places like Walmart, trust me. And from there it will move to tracking pets (happening in Portugal already I believe), then small children so they can be traced if lost or kidnapped, and eventually in adults. I know it sounds nuts to some, but they have already started implanting chips in Mexican officials. What if at doctor visits they secretly implant you without your knowing, just like the secret printer marks? Or worse yet tell you, but word it in the worst kind of Jargon that most doctors wouldn't understand? I'm just afraid that tracking our laser prints will soon be the least of our worries.

posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 04:14 PM
Actually we already do pets here. It costs 25 bucks and puts a chip about the size of a grain of rice between their shoulders.

posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 05:13 PM
justinger has a frighteningly good point.

Although not lately, for many years now the thought has occassionally crossed my mind how easy it would be to track things like cars and people, and I’ve wondered if it might actually be taking place secretly. I mean tracking via GPS in real-time.

Every new car could have a chip and sensor installed at the plant to allow tracking it’s location in real-time. The device could be integrated into the system in such a way that removing it would render the car undriveable and useless.

At birth, every baby could have the same thing done. The tracking device could be strategically located in the body where it would become integrated physically/biologically with the surrounding tissue. The surrounding tissue/nerves/synapses would physically grow onto, and adhere to, the tracking device. If installed correctly, then removing the device would have fatal consequences.

Of course, the technology would have to be such that no known material could block the GPS signal, but that’s just a technical issue that could probably be overcome.

If the above 2 things were done, Big Brother could have you sqarely in it’s sights whenever it pleased. You’d have no place to run, and no place to hide. This would no doubt violate privacy rights, but who cares? Right? I doubt if Big Brother does.

At any rate, that’s my 2 cents. Like I said, I haven’t thought about it much lately. As technology advances, though, things like this become more and more likely all the time. It may be that technology will become democacy’s fiercest enemy. No doubt about it, it's a real and present danger …

posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 06:43 PM

Originally posted by netbound
Every new car could have a chip and sensor installed at the plant to allow tracking it’s location in real-time. The device could be integrated into the system in such a way that removing it would render the car undriveable and useless.

Ever hear of "OnStar"...?


posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 07:54 PM
The mark of the less

An d yes some mexican officials have implants on them so they can be traceable.

My cars have GPS localizers and yes I have a Xerox Laser printer...WAY TO GO now where is my DOG?

posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 08:11 PM
Tracing counterfeiters was the origin of this request from the government. However, if I was going to make counterfeit money I would not register my product and I would probably throw the printer out afterwards. With all that fake money lying around I could afford to buy another one if I ran out.

I agree the implications of this are bad. I don't think we yet have to fear being traced due to our political rants; but if one takes it too far and prints out a typed threat to the President then maybe they should be traced and found. Then again, why not just clip words out of magazines for this and wear gloves when handling the magazine, clippings, paper and envelope?

Sounds like I've been thinking of these things, but I haven't. To me this is just common sense.

posted on Nov, 23 2004 @ 08:15 PM
This Tech was originally implimented into color printers ( nowadays color printers will flip a document, Money, whatever and perfectly align the back to the front ) counterfitters dream to own one. Sounds like the gov did a mandatory implementation, just like anything it sooner or later if not already will be exploited illegally by law agencies, good for catching crooks, but it never stops there.

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