Archive for the ‘Pervasive Tracking’ Category

Printer Dots, Pervasive Tracking and the Transparent Society

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Printer Dots, Pervasive Tracking and the Transparent Society

From the post:

So far in the fingerprinting series, we’ve seen how a variety of objects and physical devices [1, 2, 3, 4], often even supposedly identical ones, can be uniquely fingerprinted. This article is non-technical; it is an opinion on some philosophical questions about tracking and surveillance.

Here’s a fascinating example of tracking that’s all around you but that you’re probably unaware of:

Color laser printers and photocopiers print small yellow dots on every page for tracking purposes.

My source for this is the EFF’s Seth Schoen, who has made his presentation on the subject available.

If you are tracking the provenance of data in your topic map, does that mean that you are also tracking the users who submitted it?

And is that tracking “transparent” to the users who are being tracked or only “transparent” to the aggregators of that submitted content?

Or is that tracking only “transparent” to the sysops who are working one level above the aggregators?

And at any level, what techniques would you suggest for tracking data, whether transparent or not?

For that matter, what techniques would you suggest for detecting tracking?

Ironic that “transparent” government may require that some (all?) of its citizens and their transactions be “transparent” as well. How else to track the web of influence of lobbyists of various sorts if their transactions are not “transparent?” Which then means their employers will need to be “transparent.” Along with the objects of their largesse and attention. And the web of actors just keeps spreading out.