Laser Printer Revelations

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yogi
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Laser Printer Revelations

Post by yogi » 03 Jul 2018, 12:18

It's possible you already know about this because it's been in the news this year. However, it's worth repeating here if you care an iota about your privacy. Most, if not all, laser printers embed a code into their printouts. The code identifies the machine source of the printed document. Naked to the human eye there are yellow dot patterns in the white spaces of your laser printouts. Should you be passing this document around with the understanding that nobody will be able to discover from whence it came, think again.

Because there are some extreme concerns about whistleblowers these days, some good engineers in Germany developed software that can eliminate, or obfuscate, the yellow dot patterns. While the article does not say so explicitly, the assumption is that ink jet printers don't have this embedded coding. That doesn't mean you are safe if you use ink jet printers, but apparently it's not a significant risk at the moment.

https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2018/0 ... documents/

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Kellemora
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Re: Laser Printer Revelations

Post by Kellemora » 05 Jul 2018, 11:43

Font makers have used an embedded code in a couple of letters on their proprietary fonts for years.
I found the code on the letter M in a few proprietary fonts printed with a laser. They are on the ink jet also, but much harder to see after you enlarge the printout.
So I don't doubt they are hiding code on printed pages from printers.
I know a lot of images have an embedded code in the image itself, but have no idea how to read them.

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yogi
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Re: Laser Printer Revelations

Post by yogi » 06 Jul 2018, 10:23

I think the idea behind the dots is to make each printed copy traceable. No doubt it started out as a forensic tool and was encouraged into use by the government. From what I can tell there are no laws to enforce implementation of the dots, but just about everyone is doing it. Encoding fonts for copyright purposes is a different matter. The only people worried about it are the privacy advocates.

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Kellemora
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Re: Laser Printer Revelations

Post by Kellemora » 06 Jul 2018, 17:04

I amassed several proprietary fonts when I was doing advertising brochures. I have the licenses for each, and most of the original fonts are on 5-1/4 floppies which I still have also, because the serial number sticker is on the black jacket.

Way back when I was doing pamphlets and brochures, most of the fonts that came with a computer were only licensed for personal use. If you wanted to use them commercially, you had to buy the license. I think now most have been cleared for commercial use, but not all, because several still have licenses for a particular usage and often only used one time for that usage. All the licensed fonts I or a client purchased had no limit and no expiration. Once you paid for it, you were free to use it after that on anything. This did not include client designed custom fonts which I could only use on their stuff. Chuckling to myself here, most of the companies I did work far are no longer in business, or sold out to some larger company who changed the name, logo's and fonts they now use.

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yogi
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Re: Laser Printer Revelations

Post by yogi » 08 Jul 2018, 09:38

Graphic arts is an amazing field of endeavor. There seems to be no such thing as standardization even for the most basic tools, such as fonts. I guess it all has to do with brand recognition. Everyone wants to be unique. I had a friend in the business way back in the early days of computer graphics first introduction. His greatest nightmares involved translating customer copy into something that can be replicated exactly on printing presses. Type faces were only the beginning of the problem. It's only easier now to get images to look like what your customer designed because everybody has gone digital. Back in the early days turning analog drawings, logos, and other images into paper advertising caused a lot of graphic artists to have suicidal thoughts. LOL

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Kellemora
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Re: Laser Printer Revelations

Post by Kellemora » 08 Jul 2018, 11:22

I'm a far cry from being an artist.
Before scanners, I used a program like PAINT to redraw images to scale for the projects I worked on.
I used a grid method, like a sheet of graph paper.
I had several grid sizes printed on clear plastic, one to lay over the image, and one to cover my computer screen.
We only had like 16 colors to work with if I recall, maybe it was 32, don't remember.
But at least I got the job accomplished.
Over a short time, things got a whole lot easier, and then they came out with scanners.
So I was no longer needed to do the work, hi hi.

However, Favicons came on the scene, and almost right away, I learned how to compress images to create higher density Favicons. I wasn't limited to the 16x16 pixels. A few years later I was able to convert photographs to clear and decent Favicons. Now there are tons of tools out there for free to do the same thing.
So once again, I got left behind in the dust of technology flying forward, hi hi.

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