KC News

Government Tracks Printer Usage with Secret Dot Code Found in Color Laser Printers

Secret Code in Color Printers Lets Government Track You

Tiny Dots Show Where and When You Made Your Print

A 2004 article in PC World magazine noted that printouts from many color laser printers contained yellow dots scattered across the page, viewable only with a special kind of flashlight.

The dots contain information useful to law-enforcement authorities, a secret digital "license tag" to track 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.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) broke the code behind these hidden dots.

The EFF found that the grid of yellow dots, best seen under blue light, encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the printer serial number.

EFF spent months collecting samples from printers around the world and then handed them off to an intern, who cracked the code in about a week.

The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. It's a countermeasure to prevent illegal activity specific to counterfeiting, the agency stated.

But this is also seem as an issue of consumer rights and privacy. There are no laws to control the use of the information gleaned from the codes. The EFF calls for greater transparency in the workings between the technology industry and the government.

The logical next question is: What other deals have been or are being made to ensure that our technology rats on us?

EFF: Is Your Printer Spying On You?

List of Printers Which Do or Don't Print Tracking Dots

Washington Post:
Sleuths Crack Tracking Code Discovered in Color Printers

CNET News:
Cracking the Xerox tracking code

Mobile Mag:
Secret Service can track what you print

Printer Cartridge Recycling

Your computer printer ink cartridges are recyclable.

In fact they are worth several dollars. Which is why many companies worldwide will let you mail them in for recycling. You can even get prepaid (free shipping) envelopes to mail them in.

Folks in the USA who want some cash back can use companies such as:

AAA Environmental

Seacoast Inkjet Recycle

Toner Buyer

Also in the USA the warehouse discounter Costco makes it even easier for you! No more excuses now.

No need to go anywhere to drop off cartridges, and no need to pick up the proper mailing envelope.

Just visit the Costco TONER RECYCLING WEBSITE where you can:

1) order a bunch of free postage-paid envelopes

2) print out a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping sticker (to paste on any envelope you have handy.

Curious about how ink cartridge recycling works?

Find out in this TONER CARTRIDGE RECYCLE BROCHURE put together by the Recycling at Work campaign

You can also learn more from the ENVIROSMART EnviroFacts - Ink Jet and Laser Toner site.

Microsoft: Criminal Company. No Longer Welcome

No MSIE Microsoft must be stopped. If not stopped, slowed substantially. The company is a bully. The protests now are loud and clear: "Microsoft! Change Your Ways."

Why? Standards. Or, rather, Microsoft's inability to adhere to standards developed by world bodies, committees, and groups which benefit customers and competitors.

Since Microsoft owns approximately 90-percent of the desktop computing world, it could be argued that they set the standards, not others. Yet, the worldwide community of standards bodies will disagree.

That's why there are basic standards for data sharing, standards for Internet protocol, standards for web page code, and so on. To provide for effective, efficient communications standards that the world agrees upon. Microsoft flouts those standards.

How? For many years the Redmond software giant, convicted in court of monopoly abuse of competitors and vendors (partners), has used an effective tactic against standards not developed by Microsoft. Example? The so-called Triple E tactic.

Embrace. Extend. Exterminate.

Read the full article here:

Bambi Hambi & Tera Patricks Mac 360 - Microsoft: Criminal Company. No Longer Welcome"

Kahl Consultants certified as a Green Business

Congratulations Kahl Consultants!

Kahl Consultants is certified as a Bay Area Green Business.

The Green Business Program is a partnership among business leaders, government agencies and nonprofits.

It recognizes businesses that:

  • Demonstrate compliance with environmental regulations
  • Conserve energy, water, and other materials
  • Implement environmental practices that prevent pollution
  • Share environmentally responsible practices with other businesses
The Marin County Green Business Program is part of the Bay Area Green Business Program.


Kahl Consultants invites your business to join a similar program in your community.