The feds claim that they do it to stop counterfeiters, but that seems a bit ridiculous. All the more reason to never register hardware.
Schoen said that the existence of the encoded information could be a threat to people who live in repressive governments or those who have a legitimate need for privacy. It reminds him, he said, of a program the Soviet Union once had in place to record sample typewriter printouts in hopes of tracking the origins of underground, self-published literature.
“It’s disturbing that something on this scale, with so many privacy implications, happened with such a tiny amount of publicity,” Schoen said.
And it’s not as if the information is encrypted in a highly secure fashion, Schoen said. The EFF spent months collecting samples from printers around the world and then handed them off to an intern, who came back with the results in about a week.
“We were able to break this code very rapidly,” Schoen said.
How long before this code floats into Open Source?