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Monday, November 22, 2004

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 Government tracking your laser-printed documents

Don't print your pro-civil-rights-anti-Bush materials on a laser printer Laser printer manufacturers encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce:
Peter Crean, a senior research fellow at Xerox, says his company's laser printers, copiers and multifunction workstations, such as its WorkCentre Pro series, put the "serial number of each machine coded in little yellow dots" in every printout. The millimeter-sized dots appear about every inch on a page, nestled within the printed words and margins.

"It's a trail back to you, like a license plate," Crean says.

The dots' minuscule size, covering less than one-thousandth of the page, along with their color combination of yellow on white, makes them invisible to the naked eye, Crean says. One way to determine if your color laser is applying this tracking process is to shine a blue LED light--say, from a keychain laser flashlight--on your page and use a magnifier.

As one Slashdotter said: "Get dazzling colors, the blackest blacks, and the highest resolution from your new HP Ashcroft." :)

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