These original Kirt's Cogitations™
may be reproduced (no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt
– noun: Concerted thought or reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
Thanks for Helping Us Track 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?