Is Your Printer Spying On You?

Imagine that every time you print a document, it automatically includes a secret code that could be used to identify your printer, and potentially the person who used it. It sounds like something from a spy movie, right? Unfortunately, the scenario isn’t fictional. Most color laser printers and color copiers are designed to print invisible tracking codes across every single printed page of their output. These codes reveal which machine produced a document and, in some cases, when the document was printed or copied. To see the dots, you’ll need a blue light, which will reveal the yellow dots as black. The Secret Service has admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. Maybe that’s why kidnappers use cut-outs from magazines for their ransom letters.