printer tracking dot patterns decoded

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Don't panic, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #1
    Did you know that, every time a page is printed by a laser color printer, a semi-invisible tracking dot pattern is also printed, which allows to identify the serial number of the printer, and the date and time of the print?
    (some claims it applies to copiers and cheaper printers too)
    Was this common knowledge?

    it's supposedly designed to prevent counterfeit, and the FBI is in charge of the decoding/identification of printers.

    well, apparently the 'secret code' has just been cracked, at least for some printer models

    http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051017/full/051017-9.html
    http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/docucolor/
    http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,118664,00.asp

    Big Brother was an amateur!
    <meanwhile waves to the guys with dark glasses reading this>
     
  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #2
    Yep. Well, it was common knowledge among nerds who pay attention to things like that anyway :D
     
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #3
    That would probably make it common nerd lore ...
     
  4. watcher2001 macrumors 6502a

    watcher2001

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    #4
    Could this also be used to track where ranson notes were printed? Just curious/ I am gonna kidnap a fat kid :) Just kidding...
     
  5. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #5
    Yeah, Smart people xerox their notes at Kinko's

    ;)
     
  6. mac-er macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #6
    That is actually dumber to print it at a public place like that.
    They would know the date, time, printer the pages were printed at Kinko's...then all they have to do is go and get security tapes of that time and see who was printing it.
     
  7. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #7
    Except CCTV tapes are usually overwritten with a week or two. So, as long as you plan your crime ahead of time, you should get away with it - particularly if you copied them at a Kinko's in another city.
     
  8. mcadam macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    #8
    If U.S. government can persuade these companies to build in such functions - who else might be helping them like that?!

    I have some faint memory of a story surfacing in medias someyears ago about some somethings in Windows called CIA... or FBI... anybody's knows what I'm talking about and if it's for real?

    A
     
  9. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #9
    Pay cash for your inkjet printer in an out-of-state store, should you decide to pursue 'criminal' activities. ;)

    You might also need to be in incognito should the store's surveillance camera catches you with a date stamp of the purchase.
     
  10. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    Aug 30, 2003
    #10
    NSAKEY. Opinions differ on why it is there and Microsoft never really explained it.
     
  11. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    North Carolina
    #11
    Or just steal it. You are a criminal, after all!

    Edit: not you, Lacero -- I meant the hypothetical "you" out there somewhere reading this.
     
  12. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #12
    The BTK Killer was caught when he brazenly believed he could get away with murder by sending his CD-R to the FBI to prove he killed his victims. Little did he know, his computer serial number and other incriminating data was digitally added to the CD he sent them.
     
  13. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #13
    They thought of things like this 40 years ago. Heinlein in the moon is a harsh mistress had the conspirators rotate typewriters so that the distinctive elements can't be recognized.

    Kinkos is great for people with ill intents. Burn the CD-Rs there etc.
     
  14. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #14
    I've never worked a at a Kinkos, but when I worked at Blockbuster the CC tapes were kept for 3 or 4 months. A week or two seems very short especially sense one of the main reasons to have CC cameras is to help prevent theft. If there is employee theft it could be weeks before a noticeable pattern shows up, and complete store inventories are done every month or two. If you notice a unaccounted for discrepancy between the inventories you get to go back and shuttle thru a lot of CC tapes. Fun.


    Lethal
     
  15. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #15
    How much shrinkage is ignorable?
     

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