Most of us realize that cell phones and their GPS capabilities limit our privacy. We know that the internet can be lethal to that privacy. And, of course, we had Google driving around stealing private information. But until recently, I never thought to worry about my printer or my copier. Read on and learn how Big Brother (or other bad geeks) can learn all they want to know about you.
The other day Rebecca posted this story from CBS. It seems that many copiers have hard drives that store all the images they copy. If that copier is recycled or the lease runs out, (or the cops confiscate it?) all that personal information is up for grabs. Watch and learn:
Then tonight I read this at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):
Imagine that every time you printed a document, it automatically included a secret code that could be used to identify the printer – and potentially, the person who used it. Sounds like something from an episode of “Alias,” right?
Unfortunately, the scenario isn’t fictional. In a purported effort to identify counterfeiters, the US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you’re using in everyday life could become a tool for government surveillance. And what’s worse, there are no laws to prevent abuse.
The ACLU recently issued a report revealing that the FBI has amassed more than 1,100 pages of documents on the organization since 2001, as well as documents concerning other non-violent groups, including Greenpeace and United for Peace and Justice. In the current political climate, it’s not hard to imagine the government using the ability to determine who may have printed what document for purposes other than identifying counterfeiters.
EFF is compiling a list of printers that appear to have some type of coding. It includes most of the popular brands.
My husband watched a TV show tonight about the effects a large solar flare could have on our earthly electronics. The technical effect is “Poof! All gone!”
Given the increased privacy issues that keep popping up, maybe we’d be better off with a solar flare.