Think before u print that document

July 28, 2005 at 07:44:00
Specs: XP Home & PRO All SP2, 2.02GHz/512RAM

Before you print that document on your color laser print, think twice. The government uses color laser printer technology to track documents! Shine an LED flashlight beam on it and examine it closely with a magnifying glass. You might be able to see the small, scattered yellow dots printed there that could be used to trace the document back to you.

Full article

Beware..the Big Brother is watching you everywhere!


See More: Think before u print that document

Report •

July 28, 2005 at 08:57:15

Thanks for the heads-up. I wonder if it's possible to add or erase those dots. I can see that they'd work like a fingerprint.

We have a responsibilty as free citizens to sabotage every effort the government makes to track us like this. Lest we forget (as so many have), the citizenry is part of the checks and balances of power that protects us from tyranny. This is exactly the reason why the government wants our guns.

I'm off to see if I can find those dots you're speaking of.

Report •

July 28, 2005 at 09:13:55

Although I am far from a tree-hugger, I think you might be reading way too much "conspiracy theory" into this. First of all, "the government" is not the one printing the codes on your printouts - the printer manufacturers instituted this. Plus, the government does not use this unless a crime has been comitted. In which case it is no different than using a bullet to trace it back to a gun that was used in the comission of a crime. Whatis it, exactly, that you think the government is tracking? When you print out a page, what do you do with that page that the government would even have a need or opportunity to view it? It's been fairly common knowledge that photocopies have been able to be traced in the same manner for many years. What have been the negative consequences of that? I bet the govenment was behind the the development of MAC addresses for network equipment as well (sarchasm)!

You have misinterpreted the point of the article. The government is using identifying marks, which are already in place, to help track conterfeiting and forged documents.

Michael J

Report •

July 28, 2005 at 11:19:21

just for info
'the printer manufacturers instituted this.'
at the behest of the government in the UK,
to thwart counterfeiting of paper money,
also the original technology used sort of a moire pattern in the copied picture so erasing bits doesnt work maybe dots is the new fashion >.
btw it was in a newspaper a while back some guy had an industrial copier in his garage
+10 mill in fresh £ .... the rest is history as they say.

Report •

Related Solutions

July 28, 2005 at 12:06:17

The way they get their foot in the door is to institute these measures in the name of fighting crime or "protecting the children". Of course they're allowed to do this because who in their right mind likes crime, or hates kids?

The next step is that they use their new powers to identify, track, and harrass people who are politically against them.
Then, eventually, they make crimes out of our efforts to keep the them under control.

Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.

In this case the elephant is our freedom, and the government is taking almost unnoticeable bits of it at a time. It doesn't hurt, it's just a slight pinch...not worth getting bothered over. We're going to turn around pretty soon and find out we're missing some limbs, and then we won't be able to effectively fight them.

This isn't some conspiracy, it's part of the natural evolution of government that has been proven time and again throughout history.

1. citizens establish government
2. citizens prosper under government
3. government is given more power
4. government abuses power
5. government oppresses citizens
6. citizens revolt and replace government
...and back to step 1

Yes, I can see that the initial concern was to thwart counterfeiters. However, what WILL happen is that if you print protest leaflets, or copy a paper you wrote against a supreme court decision, the government will be able to find out who you are and harass you.

This copy machine "fingerprint" thing assumes we're all criminals. Just as I would rather a suspect get away than for the cops to fire at him in a crowd, I'd rather a few counterfeiters get away than to sacrifice my own freedom in order to take theirs.

Report •

July 28, 2005 at 12:10:23

Is this pattern unique to each printer or is it the same pattern on each machine?

In the latter case, it could only be used to identify counterfeit money, and not be used to track documents, and in that case, I can agree with its use.

Report •

July 28, 2005 at 13:35:31

Man, you really are paraniod penegrande. Do you remove the serial numbers from all of the products you buy because "the man" can track you down?

You think because you write a paper against a supreme court decision that "the government" is going to come after you. Hell, the "government" as a whole doesn't even agree with supreme court decisions. Case in point, the current decision that local governments can take private property and sell it to developers if the rsulting property will be able to provide more tax dollars. Dems & Rebublicans in the House and Senate are busy working on legislation that would circumvent that ruling. And, I believe, the court was divided 5-4. So, who exactly would be coming after you - Antonin Scalia?

If you want to distribute literature opposing some facet of the government, theat is your right which I fully support. But, you are worried that someone might find out who you are? If you take responsibility for what you distribute, that is noble. If you are doing it anonymously, that is cowardice. That is why I personally have a problem with many of the anonymous political blogs out today that spout false facts and mininformation to propogandize their narrow views.

There are many personal liberties that are being infringed right now. But, this printer thing, isn't one of them.

Michael J

Report •

July 28, 2005 at 14:03:07

Here's an article on the printer thing:
I AM a bit paranoid about the government. That's healthy and wise.

As I stated before, the people are part of the balance of power. You can not be part of that balance if you are not suspicious of what the other parts of the government is doing. If I may digress, this is the true purpose of the second amendment. Our right to bear arms is not so that we can hunt or collect cool-looking rifles. It's so that we have a means to fight back. A balance of power.

I also can't get specific about what "the government" is. If I took the time to write each individual department of it you'd be scrolling for the next four hours, so for the purposes of keeping the post readable, I will continue to use that term.

An example of the abuse of power that can occur was supplied by our illustrious Billy Clinton. He had the power to pull individual records from the FBI. So he did.
He pulled the records of his political opponents for the purpose of digging up dirt on them. He then used this knowledge to blackmail various senators and congressmen into voting his way on bills.

In the future I believe we'll see much more investigation into people who disagree with government policies and/or whoever the president may be, and the means to do that are being set into place right now.

By the way, you mentioned the eminent domain decision of the supreme court. That's what I was thinking of too. I also agree with you that anonymously posting political blogs is cowardly. If I see something that's posted anonymously, I just dismiss it. However that's now, in 2005.
In 2025, that may be the only way to get the truth out. Let's hope not.

Report •

July 28, 2005 at 19:28:12

Uh...aren't we getting a bit toooo paranoid here???

It's not like "the government" has some database of all the color laser printers out there, and runs "the dot pattern" as if it was a fingerprint, matching it to a known dot pattern of a criminal's printer.

Maybe that warranty card you're supposed to fill out & mail in is really a way to find out the name & address of the person who bought Laserjet Model IM1RU2, Serial Number 12345EIEIO, so that HP can match you up to your "dot pattern" and forward the information to "the government".

The only way that a document can be matched to your printer is if someone did something "questionably" illegal, and "the government" had reason to suspect that you were that someone. They could then compare "the dot pattern" on the document to the one put out by your printer. That's not exactly the same as "tracking your documents".

Where's my tinfoil hat???



If Wile Coyote had enough money for all that Acme crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

Report •

July 29, 2005 at 05:54:54

Actually, it's not too paranoid to be concerned about it. It's not too paranoid to change those dots; if it could be done.

The problem that can come up is "what is illegal"? Illegal is whatever the lawmakers decide is against the law, and the laws can be pretty stupid and/or arbitrary. When I lived in California, the governor made me a criminal one night.

I had a rifle under my bed; an SKS that I had modified with a scope and black resin stock (conventionally shaped and all). This is my deer rifle. It shoots a 30 caliber round (approximately) and holds ten rounds. Unfortunately it had this completely useless grenade launcher sight welded to it. Hey, the price was cheap.
The law that was passed that said if a rifle had three "evil features" it was considered an "assault weapon" and was therefore illegal. The features I just listed that were on my rifle were on the list of "evil features".

So the morning after the law was passed, I woke up a criminal. If a cop caught me with my rifle, I could be arrested and my gun be confiscated. So I took a Dremel tool and cut off the grenade sights. It ended up making the rifle a good bit lighter too, and therefore easier to aim. Bonus.

Look I am not "anti-government", but I am very much for checks and balances that prevent abuse of power by clueless idiots and power-hungry politicians. I spent 14 years in the U.S. Navy, and the oath I took was to protect the U.S. against "all enemies foriegn and domestic". I still take that oath seriously, and I think the most civil way to keep the country intact is to maintain the balance of power.

BTW, these copiers CAN be tracked with or without you filling out the warranty card. The copier company knows which distributor to unit was sold to. The distributor keeps records of who he sold the copier to. A monkey could track down the copier owner and the FBI can do a little better than that.
They wouldn't implement this technology without providing some way to track the copier.

....and Dave, tinfoil won't really help much. You need to use something a little more sturdy like lead bonded to aluminum. ;)

Report •

July 29, 2005 at 06:12:22

Thought for the day:
Has anyone of you noticed that the people who are most wary of "the government" are the ones who have been closest to it or in it?

Report •

July 29, 2005 at 19:49:02


HP sells 1000 Laserjet EIEIO's. "The government" determines that some bogus fifty dollar bills were made with a Laserjet EIEIO. You own one.

If you could be tracked as an owner of a Laserjet EIEIO, (along with the 999 other owners), we have something called probable cause in this country. "The government" can't just go busting down the doors of 1000 Laserjet EIEIO owners looking for the one that made the bogus bills. If there is sufficient cause to suspect you of being the counterfeiter, you've got a problem, but the other 999 owners have nothing to fear.



If Wile Coyote had enough money for all that Acme crap, why didn't he just buy dinner?

Report •

July 31, 2005 at 13:15:16

That's how it should work. However, it often doesn't.

Report •

Ask Question