Friday, January 04, 2002

In the bad old days of the Soviet Union, the state maintained tight control over the dissemination of information, to try to make sure the source of any information could be traced. Aren't you glad the United States doesn't have schemes like that?

Well, except for color Xerox machines, which stealthily encode their serial numbers onto copies (using proprietary stego tricks which allow the number to be recovered from even a small portion of the copy). In 1999, they were handling requests to recover serial numbers from copies at a rate of about "a couple a week". When some government agencies are asking, they require a court order. When other government agencies are asking, they don't.

And except for CD burners, which likewise stamp serial numbers (technically RID codes, for "Recorder ID") onto every CD blank they record on.

John Gilmore is ticked off that the United States is using trade sanctions to try to force this sort of thing on the Ukraine. I'm a litle more ticked off to be stuck with it here in the States...


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