Today I learned that many/most color laser printers layer an array of yellow microdots on top of documents 🔬

This Machine Identification Code encodes a print date and a serial number unique to the machine. It only became public knowledge in 2004, ~20 year after deployment 😑

The Technical University of Dresden released a tool 2 years ago to layer on _even more dots_ to render the MIC unreadable and aid whistleblowers publishing

@joachim damn. And to think I had no idea I was producing these dots myself til last week!

@douginamug @joachim you produce much more than you think you do, that surveillance captitalism 101 :)

@jums @douginamug @joachim
There's a US FOIA answer with a list of manufacturers that include these, and it's ...basically all of them ;) since we're on this topic, if you want to add dots to your document for fun, use these: :P

@krugar @joachim @douginamug @jums there's a lot of fuzziness there. For some printers there is a concrete "yes" to the #trackerdots question, and for others it's up in the air. Obviously ppl should avoid buying a printer that's confirmed compromised. Oki is a good bet. It's non-US, & Oki doesn't have scandals and dirt that most makers have.

@joachim @douginamug It's interesting that the dots were readable on The Intercept's *published version* of the documents, which seems to imply they did a really high quality color scan, no? Who does that? Why wouldn't a newspaper be smart enough to scan (presumably text) docs as a bitonal image where a yellow dot would be assigned white and not black?

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!