Bitching Brew

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This is disturbing.

A San Francisco-based privacy group claims to have discovered a secret, barely detectable print left on all documents produced by colour laser printers. It's a coded print - which makes any document traceable back to the printer it came from, and the time it was produced at.

If true, this is quite disturbing. Potential collusion between the US Secret Service and big industry? Imagine the uses this information could be put to. Even worse is the possibility that other organisations may unlock the code. The Chinese Intelligence Service would have double candied orgasms over this kind of thing. Being able to trace back every printed page of paper? I smell dead Orwell...

I guess I'll stick to black and white for my subversive literature. It's a sight cheaper too.

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2 Comments:

  • hmm, I dunno, what if you found a page containing a dastardly plan to nuke TCD, you'd be able then track down where it came from and maybe stop it from happening?

    By Anonymous Rebecca, at Fri Oct 21, 08:58:00 a.m.  

  • An extreme example don't you think? I concede that some major incident could hypothetically be prevented using this system. But it's highly unlikely. On the other hand, it's much more likely that such information will be used to stifle free speech, e.g. cracking down on those organising protests. And not just in the military dictatorships of the world. This could be used to slime people - political smears, scandalous emails etc.

    We could prevent and/or detect a hell of a lot of crime (nuclear terrorism even) if everyone was electronically tagged and monitored. But we don't do it. Our liberty is more important. (Don't forget that North Korea has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.) Yet as with this secret print, our liberties are being gradually eroded in the name of security. If you take probabilities into account - and they rarely are amidst the media hype and the spin - the benefits of such monitoring do not outweigh the costs to our liberties.

    By Blogger Martin, at Fri Oct 21, 11:24:00 a.m.  

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