20 October 2005

Things I would have bet against: Printer Codes

I am actually still in disbelief over this news. Appearently, the Secret Service asked printer manufacturers to add hidden dots to printed sheets to make conterfeiting easier to detect. The dots, which show up under special light and a magnifying glass, encode information about the printer and the date of the printing.

"Hahah," you imagine the printer manufacturers saying. "Unless you make it a law, there is no way we'd do this with out alerting our customers."

Think again. Many of the major manufacturers (e.g. HP, Xerox, Canon) have been doing it clandestinely for years.

When I hear stuff like this I just have to ask who was the executive that was confronted with this proposal and said, "You know what, this is a great idea. Let's do it." (By the way I say this all the time when I see bad TV commercials). This is just another case where people dessecrate property and privacy rights for the slightest perceived benefit.

Addendum: Some good pictures and decoding.

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