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 Parascope.com:
"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?