E.F.F.: ACTION AGAINST SPYING PRINTERS

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E.F.F.: ACTION AGAINST SPYING PRINTERS

 user 2005-10-27 at 12:13:00 pm Views: 50
  • #14390

    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.