Saturday, 16 May 2015

You can be tracked by the police through a lowly Printer

Little known fact that police can track you through your printer

It is a well known fact by now that the government can not only listen into our phone conversations but also can read our emails. They can even track the location that we were at all times, specially when we use GPS. However, their skill to track us goes much deeper than that. You even do not need you to move around with a prying gadget to track you down in some of the cases. The police and government agents can in fact easily track the document back to the printer you used, or even back to you, thanks to a technology invented by Canon and Xerox.
Little known fact that police can track you through your printer

Almost, all quality color laser printers and modern and color copiers are created to print invisible tracking “codes” from one side to the other of every single printed page of their output. These codes identify which device made the document and a timestamp for when the document was printed or copied, in some cases.

Many printer companies quietly convert the serial number into a code and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines make, say experts. Governments, already use the hidden dots to reportedly track currency counterfeiters, which includes the United States as well.

A senior research official at Xerox, Peter Crean said his company’s laser printers, copiers and multifunction workstations, such as its WorkCentre Pro series, put the “serial number of each machine coded in little yellow dots” in every printout. The millimeter-sized dots comes into sight in about every inch on a page, settled within the printed words and margins.

“It’s a trail back to you, like a license plate,” Crean says.

The dots’ extremely small size, covering less than one-thousandth of the page, along with their color combination of yellow on white, makes them not visible to the naked eye, Crean says. One way to find out if your color laser is making use of this tracking process is to shine a blue LED light–say on used printer paper and examine it with a magnifying glass. These coded dots show the serial number of your printer, and provide a time stamp. The manufacturer can then track a document back to any person or business that printed it.
Laser-printing technology makes it extremely easy to copy money and documents, and Crean says the dots, in use in some printers for decades, help law enforcement to identify and hunt down counterfeiters. The dots are created by a separate chip inside the machine, and it’s almost very difficult to disable it without breaking your printer. The printer companies have not been required to alert customers of the feature although the technology has been existence for a long time.

Photocopiers have an additional trick under their belt. Every image that is ever been copied gets saved and can be recovered many years later. In future, before you use any of these machines think twice, as anything that you print could be used against you in the court of law.


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