When you buy a Canon printer, HP printer, Brother printer or whatever make, it is rational that you are the owner of it and can make use of it according to your wish, without the interference of others. Isn’t?
If this seems something logical, then government surveillance of your printer silently and secretly sounds something illogical.
Lately, it has been highlighted by several media following arrest of a NSA contractor for leaking classified information that tiny dots of less than a millimeter in diameter and yellow in color are secretly printed on the print page from the printers to identify serial number of the machine as well as date and time of printing.
Decoding the hidden dots facilitates the law enforcement in tracking down from which printer the print page has been printed.
The tiny dots are not visible with naked eyes. You need a magnifying glass or a microscope to view it. Using a bright blue LED flashlight in a dark room too will make the dots visible in dark blue or black color.
A good scanner or a graphics program can help you see the dots in zoom form too.
However, the secret dots only accompany in color print page and so printing in black and white won’t allow the tiny round dots to be printed.
Even if you are offended by knowing that your print page is being tracked, you have nothing to do. You cannot stop those coming in the pages. You can just get rid of the printer.
Well, for those who are overly concerned, it is suggested to switch over to a color inkjet printer or just a black-only printer. You will be not tracked thereafter.
Meanwhile, you can also check the website of EFF to get a list of printers that reveals which print machine has dots and which do not.