*NEWS*E.F.F. TAKES ACTION AGAINST SPYING

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*NEWS*E.F.F. TAKES ACTION AGAINST SPYING

 user 2005-10-27 at 12:12:00 pm Views: 71
  • #14391

    Electronic Frontier Foundation Takes Action Against Spying Printers
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has revealed which printer manufacturers have complied with the US Secret Service to encode pages with identifying information. It will also take the next step to finding out what spying printers are revealing.
    Last week the EFF announced it would able to break a code hidden in tiny tracking dots that some colour laser printers secrete in every document they print. The US Secret Service admitted to having struck a deal with some laser printer manufacturers to add tracking information to the printed matter. The “spooks” claiming it’s a means of identifying counterfeiters.
    However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known.
    The manufacturer with some printer models identified with spy dots include; Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson Aculaser, Konika/Minolta, Kyocera, Lanier, Ricoh, Savin, Tektronix and Xerox. A comprehensive list detailing the model number can be found at the EFF site.
    However there are no laws to stop the Secret Service from using printer codes to secretly trace the origin of non-currency documents; only the privacy policy of a printer manufacturer currently protects users. No law regulates what sort of documents the Secret Service or any other domestic or foreign government agency is permitted to request for identification, not to mention how such a forensics tool could be developed and implemented in printers in the first place.
    Although the American Civil Liberties recently issued a report revealing what the FBI has amassed against organisations, as well as documenting non-violent groups including Greenpeace and United for Peace and Justice. The EFT is also gathering information about what printers are revealing and how. It has also filed a ‘Freedom of Information Act Request.

    Xerox Printers’ Tracking Codes Cracked
    Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced that is has successfully managed to crack a tracking code discovered in some of the
    Xerox printer models. The code is an invisible set of dots that contain the serial number of the printer, as well as the date and time a document was printed.
    According to the Washington Post, the information appears as a pattern of yellow dots, each just a millimeter wide and visible only with a magnifying glass in blue light.
    The first analyzed printers were from Xerox’s DocuColor lineup, but the organization extended their search to other brands. Other spying printers come from companies such as Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, HP, Kyocera and Lexmark.
    It is unknown when this coding system first emerged, but 10 year old documents bearing these points have been discovered.
    The US Secret Services said that the coding system was designed to prevent counterfeiting activities.
    Xerox officials confirmed the existence of a secret pattern, but announced that the company was simply assisting an agency that asked for help.