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Code Discovered in Color Printers

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posted on Oct, 21 2005 @ 09:37 AM
Attention ATS !!!!

All of you using a color printer to voice your opinion or to circulate any unofficial monetary compensation, use caution !

You now can be tracked to the color printer on your PC.

It has been discovered that all color printers have a built in program, when you print a page from your PC, the color printer hides the printers serial number and date on the printed page.

The information supplied by your printer will allow the authorities to match up printed material used in crimes or anti government activities back to the source of it’s original printing.

For instance, if you are distributing a flyer with a demonstrations place and time, the printed flyer could be tracked back to your printer using a hidden code placed by your color printer.

Sleuths Crack Tracking Code Discovered in Color Printers

By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 19, 2005; Page D01

It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it isn't.

The pages coming out of your color printer may contain hidden information that could be used to track you down if you ever cross the U.S. government.

Last year, an article in PC World magazine pointed out that printouts from many color laser printers contained yellow dots scattered across the page, viewable only with a special kind of flashlight.

The article quoted a senior researcher at Xerox Corp. as saying the dots contain information useful to law-enforcement authorities, a secret digital "license tag" for tracking down criminals.

posted on Oct, 21 2005 @ 09:41 AM
This has already been discussed over at

But just for those who read this and dont catch this one, i will post up some of the info i found in here...

Originally posted by noslenwerd

Here is how to see the dots

The dots are yellow, less than one millimeter in diameter, and are typically repeated over each page of a document. In order to see the pattern, you need a blue light, a magnifying glass, or a microscope




The DocuColor series prints a rectangular grid of 15 by 8 miniscule yellow dots on every color page. The same grid is printed repeatedly over the entire page, but the repetitions of the grid are offset slightly from one another so that each grid is separated from the others. The grid is printed parallel to the edges of the page, and the offset of the grid from the edges of the page seems to vary. These dots encode up to 14 7-bit bytes of tracking information, plus row and column parity for error correction. Typically, about four of these bytes were unused (depending on printer model), giving 10 bytes of useful data. Below, we explain how to extract serial number, date, and time from these dots. Following the explanation, we implement the decoding process in an interactive computer program.

This is an image of the dot grid produced by a Xerox DocuColor 12, magnified 10x and photographed by a Digital Blue QX5 computer microscope under white light. While yellow dots are visible, they are very hard to see. We will need to use a different technique in order to get a better view.

This is an image of a portion of the dot grid under 60x magnification. Now the dots are easy to see, but their overall structure is hard to discern because the microscope field only includes a few dots at a time.

This is an image of one repetition of the dot grid from the same Xerox DocuColor 12 page, magnified 10x and photographed by the QX5 microscope under illumination from a Photon blue LED flashlight. Note that the increased contrast under blue light allows us to see the entire dot pattern clearly.

Here, we use computer graphics software to overlay the black dots in the microscope image with larger yellow dots for greater visibility. (Because these computer-generated dots are significantly larger than the original dots, this image is no longer to scale and is now a schematic representation of the relative position of the dots.)

Finally, we add explanatory text to show the significance of the dots.

The topmost row and leftmost column are a parity row and column for error correction. They help verify that the forensic information has been read accurately (and, if a single dot has been read incorrectly, to identify the location of the error). The rows and columns all have odd parity: that is, every column contains an odd number of dots, and every row (except the topmost row) contains an odd number of dots. If any row or column appears to contain an even number of dots, it has been read incorrectly.

Each column is read top-to-bottom as a single byte of seven bits (omitting the first parity bit); the bytes are then read right-to-left. The columns (which we have chosen to number from left to right) have the following meanings:

* 15: unknown (often zero; constant for each individual printer; may convey some non-user-visible fact about the printer's model or configuration)
* 14, 13, 12, 11: printer serial number in binary-coded-decimal, two digits per byte (constant for each individual printer; see below)
* 10: separator (typically all ones; does not appear to code information)
* 9: unused
* 8: year that page was printed (without century; 2005 is coded as 5)
* 7: month that page was printed
* 6: day that page was printed
* 5: hour that page was printed (may be UTC time zone, or may be set inaccurately within printer)
* 4, 3: unused
* 2: minute that page was printed
* 1: row parity bit (set to guarantee an odd number of dots present per row)

The printer serial number is a decimal number of six or eight digits; these digits are coded two at a time in columns 14, 13, 12, and 11 (or possibly just 13, 12, and 11); for instance, the serial number 00654321 would be coded with column values 00, 65, 43, and 21.

This site also has a computer program on it that lets you punch in your own yellow dots to conclude what the dots you find mean.

Link to download this program is here

To use this program on the site... go here to the bottom


Here is a list of printers. This is also taken from but from another page

Remember that a "no" simply means that we couldn't see yellow dots; it does not prove that there is no forensic watermarking present. (For example, the HP Color LaserJET 8500 series does not include any yellow tracking dots that we can see, but it may still include some kind of forensic marking, since the majority of earlier CLJ models did.)

Remember that a "yes" simply means that we (or another source, as noted) saw yellow dots that appeared anomalous to us. Until we decipher the marking schemes or receive other confirmation, this does not constitute proof that any particular kind of information is represented by these dots. In a very few cases, for example, they might be the result of a poor dithering technique, rather than a forensic mark.

Brother yes

* HL-4200CN [exp]

Canon yes

* CLC 1000 [exp]
* CLC 2400 [exp]
* CLC 4000 [exp]
* Color imageRUNNER C3100CN [exp]
* Color imageRUNNER C3200 [exp]
* Color imageRUNNER C3220 [exp]

Dell yes

* 3000cn [exp]
* 3100cn [exp]
* 5100cn [exp]

Epson AcuLaser yes

* C900 [exp]
* C1100 [exp]
* C1100 [press]
* C1500 [exp]
* C1900 [exp]

HP Color LaserJet no

* 2250ln [exp (??)]
* 4500 [exp]
* 4500dn [exp]
* 4500n [exp]
* 4550 [exp]
* 4550n [exp]
* 5M [exp]
* 8500 [exp]
* 8550 [exp]
* 8550dn [exp]
* 8550gn [exp]

HP Color LaserJet yes

* 1500l [exp]
* 2500 [exp]
* 2500n [exp]
* 2550l [exp]
* 2550n [exp]
* 2600n [exp]
* 2680 [exp]
* 2840 [exp]
* 3500 [exp]
* 3500n [exp]
* 3600dn [exp]
* 3700 [exp]
* 3700dn [exp]
* 3700n [exp]
* 4600 [exp]
* 4600dn [exp]
* 4600hdn [exp]
* 4600n [exp]
* 4650 [exp]
* 4650dn [exp]
* 4650dtn [exp]
* 5100cn [exp]
* 5500 [exp]
* 5500atn [exp]
* 5500dn [exp]
* 5500hdn [exp]
* 5550 [exp]
* 5550dtn [exp]
* 9500 [exp]
* 9500hdn [exp]

IBM unclear

* Infoprint Color 1454 [exp] [dithering algorithm?]

Konica/Minolta unclear

* DialtaColor CF 2001 [exp] [dithering algorithm?]

Konica/Minolta yes

* Bizhub C350 [exp]
* CF1501 [exp]
* Colorforce 8050 [exp]
* Desklaser 2200 [exp]
* DialtaColor CF 2001 [exp]
* Ikon CPP500E [exp]
* Magicolor 2210 [exp]
* Magicolor 2300 DL [exp]
* Magicolor 2430 DL [exp]
* Magicolor 3300 [exp]
* Magicolor 7300 [exp]

Kyocera yes

* FS-C5016N [exp]

Lanier yes

* LD238C [exp]
* LP125cx/LP126cn [exp]

Lexmark no

* C720 [exp (??)]

Lexmark yes

* C510 [exp]
* C720 [exp]
* C912 [exp]

Minolta: see Konica/Minolta Oki/OkiDATA no

* C5150 [exp]
* C5150n [exp]
* C5300 [exp]
* C7200 [exp]
* C7350 [exp]
* C9300 [exp]

Ricoh: see also Savin Ricoh yes

* Aficio CL 3000 [exp]
* Aficio CL 6010 [exp]
* Aficio CL 7000 [exp]
* AP 206 [exp]

Samsung no

* CLP-510 [exp]
* CLP-500 [exp]
* CLP-550 [exp]

Savin yes

* C3210 [exp]
* CLP35 [exp]

Tektronix: see Xerox/Tektronix Toshiba yes

* eStudio 210c [mfr]
* eStudio 310c [mfr]
* eStudio 311c [mfr]
* eStudio 211c [mfr]
* eStudio 2100c [mfr]
* eStudio 3100c [mfr]
* eStudio 3511 [exp]
* FC15i [mfr]
* FC15 [mfr]
* FC22i [mfr]
* FC22 [mfr]
* FC25Pi [mfr]
* FC25P [mfr]
* FC70 [mfr]

Xerox yes

* DocuColor 12 [exp]
* DocuColor 40 [exp]
* DocuColor 2045 [exp]
* DocuColor 2000 [mfr]
* DocuColor 6060 [mfr]
* DocuColor 6060 [exp]
* WorkCentre M24 [exp]
* WorkCentre Pro all models [press]
* WorkCenter Pro 40 [exp]
* WorkCenter Pro C2636 [exp]

Xerox/Tektronix Phaser no

* 560 [exp]
* 740 [exp]
* 750 (Z750V) [exp]
* 750P [exp]
* 780 [exp]
* 850DP [exp]
* 860DP [exp]
* 6100 [exp]
* 6200 [exp]
* 6200DP [exp]
* 6250DP [exp]
* 7700 [exp]
* 8200DP [exp]
* 8200DX [exp]

Xerox/Tektronix Phaser unclear

* 8400B [exp?] [dithering algorithm?]
* 8400DP [exp]
* 8440DP [exp?] [dithering algorithm?]
* 8400DX [exp]
* 8400N [exp]

posted on Oct, 21 2005 @ 04:25 PM
Same thing with Xerox machines and colour copiers. If you scan money it will disable itself and will only be renabled with a code that must be entered by a repair man.


posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 12:39 AM
This is old news buddy. And golden eagle those xerox printers are registered with the secret service. And no they dont disable themselves. They are not that smart.

[edit on 22-10-2005 by Whompa1]

posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 12:44 AM
Heh reminds me of another embedded trick. Opening a scanned image of currency in Paint Shop Pro 8 and such does not work.

The program will shut down and give you some sort of warning.

I didnt believe it until I tried it myself. And it works.

Canadian too !

posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 07:26 AM

Thanks for the information. Never heard about these color printers codes before.

posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 09:43 AM
and this is the stuff that they admit to what else is there out there

posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 09:29 AM
Is this stuff about software programs not allowing you to do things with scanned images of money actually true? It seems too complex they would add in something to just detect if an image is that of money or not.

posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 05:19 PM

Originally posted by Toxic Fox
Is this stuff about software programs not allowing you to do things with scanned images of money actually true? It seems too complex they would add in something to just detect if an image is that of money or not.

At least as far as copiers its not true. I'm not sure about photoshop or anything.


posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 07:19 PM
There's got to be away of stoping printers from doing this. Im sure it's in the software installed on the comp, but it seems to be a possiblity that the "code maker" is in the printers chip firmware. Still in a few months of sifting through code someone could find it and delete it. This type of crap they're pulling is to 1984 for me.

posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 07:36 PM
see this link where I showed this'

photoshop CS or better had algorithms buily in to revent you from scanning and manipultating

posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 07:39 PM
You also need to keep in mind the code that printer is putting paper can only be tracked back to you if the authorities have both the printer from your house and the "money" you printed.......

When you bought the printer the ownership of it is not tracked

posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 07:45 PM

Originally posted by Dulcimer
Heh reminds me of another embedded trick. Opening a scanned image of currency in Paint Shop Pro 8 and such does not work.

The program will shut down and give you some sort of warning.

I didnt believe it until I tried it myself. And it works.

Canadian too !

lol, will this work in Adobe Photoshop CS? I just want to see what it says and what it will do.

Just tried it, and nothing happend, wonder why it works in paint shop but not photoshop..does it have to be a certain amount of currency before it will give a warning?

[edit on 10/23/0505 by brodband]

posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 06:17 AM
does trying scanning money and putting them on paint shop pro 8 break your paint shop beacuse i dont want to have to find a code for it or something

posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 08:00 AM
you will get a pop up that tells you that you are allowed to modify the image ...... An algorithm has been installed to recognize money so you cannot manipulate the image.

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