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Ontario Technoblog

Ontario Emperor technology blog.

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Monday, October 17, 2005

So Much for Anonymous Copying

From AP:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation says it has cracked the tracking codes embedded in Xerox Corp.'s DocuColor color laser printers. Such codes are just one way that manufacturers employ technology to help governments fight currency counterfeiting....

Researchers found patterns of yellow dots arranged in 15 by 8 grids and printed repeatedly over every color page, said Seth Schoen, a staff technologist at the San Francisco-based civil-liberties group.

The dots are visible only with a magnifying glass or under blue light, which causes the yellow dots to appear black....

At the Secret Service, which helps develop such technologies with other government agencies and industry, spokesman Eric Zahren said the tools are designed "simply to make it more difficult to utilize that equipment for the illegal activity of reproducing genuine U.S. currency."

"They do not in any way track the use of a personal computer or a person's computer's hardware or software," he added, refusing to elaborate on the technologies.

But Schoen said much can be gleaned from the printouts alone.

Consider two documents, one carrying the author's name and one meant to be anonymous. By comparing the codes, it can be determined whether the two documents came from the same printer, even if Xerox reveals nothing about a customer's serial number, Schoen said....

Adobe Systems Inc. has acknowledged quietly adding the government software to its Photoshop software at the request of regulators and international bankers.

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