Transparency Project

Printer Dots

EFF submitted FOIA requests to several government agencies seeking information related to the agencies' use of "printer dots" -- tracking codes embedded in pages printed from certain printers.

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. EFF previously discussed the concerns arising from government use of "printer dots" here.

EFF submitted requests to ten federal agencies. In December 2008 the Department of Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing released documents responsive to EFF's request.

US Federal Agency:

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