Thanks for Helping Us Track You
These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced
(no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.
here to return to the Table of Contents.
Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
If you have purchased a new printer in the last
few years, be it laser or inkjet, chances are good that every time you print out a document, a barely-detectable
identification code is being included on the page. Usually a series of yellow dots forms a symbol similar to the
2-D digital bar code seen on many products (even burned into very small surface mount devices like metal VCO
lids). This code tells investigators the serial number of the printer that created the document. There is no
notice to the buyer or user that such a scheme has been implemented, so the Big Brother watchdog groups are up in
arms about it. One recent news story tells of a document created on a Canon printer being traced back by Dutch
police to pursue a gang of counterfeit ticket producers. Canon says it is only trying to protect its customers by
providing a means to recover stolen property. Skeptics believe governments are strong-arming the companies into
cooperation. As with many high tech coding and tracking schemes, the systems can be used for good or evil, but
most fear tends to be born out of ignorance. Many people believe RFID tags in grocery store packages and garment
tags will result in their every move being tracked by the government. Some think the magnetic strips on credit
cards set off detector networks around the world to track their movement. So, now a whole new group of fellow
citizens can lay awake nights worrying about whether their political flyers that they obnoxiously put on our car
windshields can be traced back to them; is that a bad thing?