A little-noticed system that allows printed documents to be tracked by government agents has gotten the attention of the EU Commissioner for Justice Freedom and Security, who says the technology may violate EU human rights guarantees.
The technology is baked in to many popular color laser printers and photocopiers, including those made by Brother, Cannon, Xerox and HP, according to this list compiled by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It embeds almost invisible tracking dots onto documents that uniquely identify the machine that printed them.
The enables the tracking of currency counterfeiters, but the EFF has been warning for years there’s nothing that prevents government spooks from using them for broader types of surveillance. Those concerns have at last found a home with Commissioner Franco Frattini.