Printers May Spy with RFID
Infowars | October 19, 2005
The Electronic Frontiers Foundation recently revealed a partnership between Xerox and the Secret Service to imprint every page coming out of Xerox inkjet printers with hidden and unique identifying marks. These markings, which are invisible to the naked eye, were implemented under the auspices of fighting counterfeiting, but could easily be used to connect some so-called seditious material to the printer that printed it and then ultimately back to its author.
Frightening as this prospect is, the discovery of this ID system has already spurred rebellious-types to begin crafting ways to circumvent or distort the code back to anonymity.
What is really worrisome is that printers which emblazon unique IDs on every page that pass through them may be secretly combined with RFID technology. The capability to print RFID antennas directly on to paper and other substances using specialized metallic ink was developed years ago. The use of RFID label printers has becoming commonplace in inventory control in both the public and private sectors.
It’s not too far of a leap to imagine a scenario in which printer manufacturers again collude with government to stamp every page that moves through their products with a RFID tag. These tags could, like the Xerox marking system, be very well-concealed and invisible to the unaware.
By the time the technology is fully implemented in consumer-level printers, RFID technology will have been thoroughly disseminated. At that point, with RFID readers on every street corner and one in every store, new car, and every major appliance, it will be possible to track the physical movement of anything the government labels as seditious from its printer of origin to everyone that handles it for long enough to read it.
Before this technology is in place in consumer electronics, be assured it will find its way into the corporate print and photo shops that could very well have every digital photo and inkjet copy printed with a unique RFID.
Is your printer spying on you?
The Inquirer | October 19 2005
Secret print code lets US secret service keep tabs
RESEARCHERS hired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) say they were able to break a code hidden in tiny tracking dots that some colour laser printers secrete in every document they print.
The U.S. Secret Service admits it struck a deal with some laser printer manufacturers to add tracking information to the printed matter. The spooks say it's a means of identifying counterfeiters.
The EEF team analysed the little yellow dots on the output from a range of printers and managed to break the code for Xerox DocuColor printers. "We found that the dots encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer," said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen.
"We believe that other models from other manufacturers include the same personally identifiable information in their tracking dots," he added.
Xerox claimed only the Secret Service had the ability to read the code, while the Secret Service says it only uses the information for criminal counterfeit investigations.
"What other deals have been or are being made to ensure that our technology rats on us?" wonders EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien
Cracking the Xerox tracking code
DocuColor Tracking Dot Decoding Guide
EFF Reveals Codes in Xerox Printers