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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How Our Machines Spy On Us

It began in the 1960's, Xerox in conjunction with the United States government put spy cams in the Xerox machines used in foreign embassies.

This from

"In 1962, according to Stover, the CIA quietly contracted the Xerox company to design a miniature camera, to be planted inside the photocopier at the Soviet Union's embassy in Washington. A team of four Xerox engineers set to work in an abandoned bowling alley and built a working model -- a modified home movie camera equipped with a special photocell that triggered the device whenever a copy was made. In 1963, the tiny Cold War weapon was installed by a Xerox technician during a regular maintenance visit to the Soviet embassy. On subsequent visits the Xerox man retrieved and replaced the film."

It was a nifty trick by the CIA and revealed much that we couldn't get elsewhere. Machines made in America were now tools for our information. I remember when this story first broke and thought now that is cool.

Interestingly, printer technology lead to another way to trace documents.

This from PC World:

"According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce. Governments, including the United States, already use the hidden markings to track counterfeiters."

So what is next. Well, most of the computers made are no longer of U.S. origin. Could the tables be turned on us? Could some foreign power use their hardware to find our secrets? Is the U.S. at risk?

This from the BBC:

"A US agency is calling for an official probe into Chinese computer firm Lenovo's contract to supply 15,000 computers to the US State Department. "

"The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) said it feared the PCs could be fitted with bugging devices to spy on the US government."

We may admire the cheap prices and quality products that we are getting from China and other countries. But could there be a "Trojan Horse" in the machine?


At 7:44 PM, Blogger said...

Interesting story, very interesting.
Raymond B

At 12:02 AM, Blogger B O B said...

Thanks Raymond, I found it interesting also. What interesting ways people design to deceive.

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Xerox Ink Technologies said...

Wow this is very interesting. They could do this with just about anything or anyone. Did they end up finding out?
I think the USSR would give much information to the soviet embassy here in the US. Wouldn't that be too risky? and definitely not from the copy room.
However, the CIA do crazy things with spy cams nowadays.

Thanks for this i found it really interesting!

At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read the blog. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.
Phone jammer

At 1:49 AM, Blogger robbie said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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