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PostHeaderIcon Not-Seeing Spots – Color Laser Tracking

Did you know that your color laser printer may be telling tales?

Apparently many of them print tiny yellow microdots, invisible to the naked eye but that show up under blue LED light in a dark room, on your documents. It is supposedly security encoding, but no one knows what information is encoded in the dots, other than the device serial number.

According to what little has been said by printer manufacturers and the government (both in the US and the EU), the dot identifiers are intended to be a counterfeiting deterrent and a way to help the government locate and prosecute counterfeiters.

The big problem I see with this is that no one will talk about it. No one will come out and say “this is the mark – this is the information encoded in it”. There is too much unknown from the consumer end. It also deprives people of their anonymity.

Technically, anonymity is not a guaranteed right, but it sure as heck encourages free speech–how many of you read (or write!) an anonymous blog? One where the writer can unload about life or work in a way that will protect them from reprisal. That is the glory of anonymity and THAT is what this printer watermarking takes from people.

Seriously. People have been faking money for as long as nations have been making money, color printers aren’t really the problem Big Bro!

There are a few really good articles out there on this, so I’m just going to give you a list, starting with the first one I read:

Seeing yellow over color printer tracking devices

Seeing Yellow – official web home of the campaign to stamp out printer tracking

Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents at PC World’s site – one of the first articles to report printer device tracking

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