Digital printers put a tracking code in every printout
Tinfoil hat time! From WaPo
It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it isn't. The pages coming out of your color printer may contain hidden information that could be used to track you down if you ever cross the U.S. government.
Last year, an article in PC World magazine pointed out that printouts from many color laser printers contained yellow dots scattered across the page, viewable only with a special kind of flashlight. The article quoted a senior researcher at Xerox Corp. as saying the dots contain information useful to law-enforcement authorities, a secret digital "license tag" for tracking down criminals.
The content of the coded information was supposed to be a secret, available only to agencies looking for counterfeiters who use color printers.
Now, the secret is out.
Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco consumer privacy group, said it had cracked the code used in a widely used line of Xerox printers, an invisible bar code of sorts that contains the serial number of the printer as well as the date and time a document was printed.
Sounds like a conspiracy theory, but "isn't"? WTF? Oh, I guess they must mean it's "conspiracy reality"...
Hmmm, the government intercepts a stream of digital data and, using steganographic techniques, watermarks or stamps it, so that it can be traced to an individual.
Gosh, are there any other technologies you can think of where a similar approach would work? Not the internet, I don't think, because of packet switching.
How about landlines and cellphones? Sure would make life a lot easier for the Echelon guys, eh?