Surveillance Intermediaries

Interesting law-journal article: "Surveillance Intermediaries," by Alan Z. Rozenshtein.

Abstract:Apple's 2016 fight against a court order commanding it to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists exemplifies how central the question of regulating government surveillance has become in American politics and law. But scholarly attempts to answer this question have suffered from a serious omission: scholars have ignored how government surveillance is checked by "surveillance intermediaries," the companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook that dominate digital communications and data storage, and on whose cooperation government surveillance relies. This Article fills this gap in the scholarly literature, providing the first comprehensive analysis of how surveillance intermediaries constrain the surveillance executive. In so doing, it enhances our conceptual understanding of, and thus our ability to improve, the institutional design of government surveillance.

Surveillance intermediaries have the financial and ideological incentives to resist government requests for user data. Their techniques of resistance are: proceduralism and litigiousness that reject voluntary cooperation in favor of minimal compliance and aggressive litigation; technological unilateralism that designs products and services to make surveillance harder; and policy mobilization that rallies legislative and public opinion to limit surveillance. Surveillance intermediaries also enhance the "surveillance separation of powers"; they make the surveillance executive more subject to inter-branch constraints from Congress and the courts, and to intra-branch constraints from foreign-relations and economics agencies as well as the surveillance executive's own surveillance-limiting components.

The normative implications of this descriptive account are important and cross-cutting. Surveillance intermediaries can both improve and worsen the "surveillance frontier": the set of tradeoffs ­ between public safety, privacy, and economic growth ­ from which we choose surveillance policy. And while intermediaries enhance surveillance self-government when they mobilize public opinion and strengthen the surveillance separation of powers, they undermine it when their unilateral technological changes prevent the government from exercising its lawful surveillance authorities.

Posted on June 7, 2017 at 6:19 AM • 39 Comments

Comments

jonesJune 7, 2017 8:07 AM

The centralization of infrastructure and bureaucratic administration that makes it easy for the government to access this information using administrative subpoenas rather than warrants -- it seems to me -- is very much by design. CALEA, Windows 95, and the phrase "information superhighway" all appeared together....

In any event, a lot of the convenience individuals expect out of the cloud could be delivered over public network infrastructure connected to private cloud servers in one's own home -- which would be covered by a warrant requirement.

One may suggest that the cloud offers protection against, say, house fire; but if the owner of a cloud account dies unexpectedly, there is no clear direct way for next of kin to access that information and the net result is more or less the same, and equally sudden.

In terms of how these issues are discussed, I also find it troubling that they're typically discussed in terms of the 4th amendment -- which is a nice idea but no longer the legal mechanism at play here.

The 4th amendment "probable cause" requiremnt is no longer the evidentiary standard used by government surveillance, but rather, the "reasonable suspicion" standard crafted by court precedent rather than lawmakers

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/intel/m013006.pdf

If you care about these issues, don't expect the 4th amendment to protect you -- stop surveilling yourself and start worrying about what happens to your 5th amendment "miranda rights" if you decide to become political some time in the future, and are placed under "retroactive surveillance."

call girlJune 7, 2017 8:50 AM

"Surveillance intermediaries"

Great. A middleman peeping tom is sneaking up to my bedroom window and taking photos of me while I am asleep. So if the middleman exercises some minimal compliance, discretion, and aggressive litigiousness in selling the photos he took of me to three-letter government agencies and other VIPs, then my privacy is deemed to have been protected.

VinnyGJune 7, 2017 9:45 AM

"Surveillance intermediaries have the financial and ideological incentives to" *appear to* "resist government requests for user data." FIFY
The sad fact is, we have absolutely no idea what kind of positive or negative incentives the deep state may have offered these companies to provide it with the data sought; nor do we know what fig leaves (or possibly fig tree fertilizer) may have been provided to help those companies maintain a plausible smoke screen of denial.
-VG

Who?June 7, 2017 10:08 AM

Surveillance intermediaries have the financial and ideological incentives to resist government requests for user data. Their techniques of resistance are: proceduralism and litigiousness that reject voluntary cooperation in favor of minimal compliance and aggressive litigation; technological unilateralism that designs products and services to make surveillance harder; and policy mobilization that rallies legislative and public opinion to limit surveillance

I do not buy it, sorry. They are actively participating in secret surveillance programs like PRISM. What corporations like Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft do not want is these activities becoming public so the theater of resistance begins as soon as they are caught collaborating in an illegal international surveillance network.

Small corporations, on the other hand, are just a NSL away of either becoming members of this illegal surveillance program or getting jailed without judgment or being judged by a fake court like FISA (theater of legality).

David HendersonJune 7, 2017 11:13 AM

What this article does not address is the degree of corporate snooping that is sold by said corporations to advertisers.

This is Google's business model. Ditto for Apple and Microsoft.

How can a corporation resist a subpoena from FISA that it is forbidden to disclose to anyone else?

I use a Chromebook netbook for convenience. Its also been reloaded to run Chromium (open source) rather than Chrome(proprietary). It only accesses my own and my employer's cloud resources.

More trustworthy are cloud sharing services that employ strong encryption and keep local keys: Protonmail, Spideroak and tarsnap. These services use encryption to blind their central servers from the user content. Their security is not absolute. The programs downloaded from servers have been altered from time to time (look up hushmail).

I put more trust in my systems running Debian Linux loaded from dvd's, but its still not completely trusted.


ArclightJune 7, 2017 11:28 AM

Given the unprecedented flood of classified information being made public by intel agency leakers, I think we may be seeing the economics of "partnerships" between these intermediaries and the official (or unofficial) government surveillance agencies changing. It's no longer a sure bet that a partnership that runs contrary to the interests of the normal, paying client base will remain secret for long.

If it becomes more advantageous to these businesses to turn down financial and regulatory rewards in order to avoid a flight to competitors, then they have incentives that align with their customers.

BobJune 7, 2017 12:38 PM

"And while intermediaries enhance surveillance self-government when they mobilize public opinion and strengthen the surveillance separation of powers, they undermine it when their unilateral technological changes prevent the government from exercising its lawful surveillance authorities."

I take...
Bad: Giving people tools to protect their privacy.
Good: Twitting about how important it is for people to protect their privacy, if and only if they lack the tools to do it.

Bob Dylan's Smoking CigarJune 7, 2017 1:12 PM

I am very skeptical that intermediaries actually behave in the ways that the article posits they do. The government gets what they want or the companies are brought to heel. Let me illustrate this by asking a single question. Name me a case of national importance where the government has failed to get what it wanted? I dare anyone to name such a case. Yet we are consistently told that the people the government arrests are idiots, low-hanging fruit, failed to read this blog, etc. etc. The argument becomes circular. Who does the government always catch? The low hanging fruit! Who are the low hanging fruit? The people the government catches!

At some point in time intelligent observers must be forgiven for refusing to believe that intermediaries do anything but jump into bed with governments at the merest sneeze. I personally refuse to believe the charade that was the San Bernardino case. Apple broke that phone or enabled other people to break that phone so it could keep its good name. Occam's razor books no other answer. I am tired of the insistence that the public must believe in magic.

David HendersonJune 7, 2017 1:31 PM

Re: Bob Dylan's Smoking Cigar on "Name me a case "

What I did not mention was Ladar Levison's shutdown of lababit that erased the NSA's access to his email site after they wanted tracking of Snowden.

I think this is the most prominent case where national governments failed to surveil due to citizen resistance.

Levinson's service is being resurrected as "Dark Internet Mail Environment ".
I have no idea as to whether or not it receives government approval.

After Protonmail, it might be largely irrelevant.


Ross SniderJune 7, 2017 2:11 PM

@Bruce Schneier

There was a really interesting blog post from someone with a lot of clarity shedding light on the relationship that "surveillance intermediaries" have with the government, fatally knocking down the argument proposed in this paper that the relationship exhibits a degree of check, balances and constraint. Would be interesting to have you read and comment on the ideas expressed by this article.

Link here: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2014/03/the_continuing_.html

DentonJune 7, 2017 3:38 PM

I find it odd that they only mentioned social media companies and Apple. ISPs play a giant role in surveillance. Did they not focus on this because it's covered by other literature? Does anyone have links to those papers?

AnuraJune 7, 2017 3:38 PM

You can tell when you are on the right side when the trolls all show up to attack you.

65535June 7, 2017 9:37 PM

@ Clive and others who understand yellow tracking dots and steganography of printers and other devices.

Bruce S. mentions the usual suspects who spy for the government. The paper he points to mentions other companies. The pool of Surveillance Intermediaries seems to growing with no stop in sight. How about those yellow dots that act as printer identifiers?

EFF list of printers with steganography:
https://www.eff.org/pages/list-printers-which-do-or-do-not-display-tracking-dots

Reality Winner case by motherboard:
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/nsa-suspected-leaker-reality-leigh-winner-caught

This seems to be another section of Surveillance Intermediaries pool. Take the Reality Winner case which seems to indicate the Intercept was given color documents by Ms Winner and scanned on a color printer which gave way the exact printer Winner used to print the documents.

How deep does this Printer/hardware Surveillance Intermediaries pool go? Is it much more that just color printers and cell phones? Can black and white printers or monochrome printers defeat this tracing of yellow dot identification?

How do we protect ourselves from Printer data leakage – or other hardware devices?

Clive has mentioned in the past that both printers and Smart Electric meters could potentially leak a huge amount of personal data? Is there an inclusive list of hardware devices that leak personal data? What would be its size?

@ call girl

“sneaking up to my bedroom window and taking photos of me”

That is a good point. There are plenty of Private Investigators will to do it and use modern miniature ex-military-intelligence electronic devices to do so.

@ Who?

“They are actively participating in secret surveillance programs like PRISM [Google, Facebook, Apple, and others].”

I agree.

The methods range from legally arm twisting to hiring a NSA/FBI/CIA/DEA mole to plant back doors.

@ David Henderson

“I use a Chromebook netbook for convenience. Its also been reloaded to run Chromium (open source) rather than Chrome(proprietary). It only accesses my own and my employer's cloud resources.”

Exactly, how secure is this method?

I understand that Chromium OS is not that secure as others on this board feel - it leaks a lot of data. The Chromium browser is a sister to Firefox. How secure is Chromium/Firefox browsers with their various Ad-on's and the like? If you are correct on your setup's security I would switch to it.

@ Denton

“I find it odd that they only mentioned social media companies and Apple. ISPs play a giant role in surveillance.”

Good point.

Now that Verizon has purchased Yahoo I would not be surprised that all packets are inspected and marked before they get to Fort Meade or are routed around the world and end up at the large Utah facility.

@ Arclight

“It's no longer a sure bet that a partnership that runs contrary to the interests of the normal, paying client base will remain secret for long.”

Maybe that is true.

But, I would guess it is like pricing currencies in the open market – the least objectionable or least-unstable one gets bought. Currently the USD is the least objectionable.

I have a feeling that the US Treasury has deep pockets and so to the NSA/CIA/FBI/and so on. We really don’t know exactly how much the Intelligence Community is spending - that is classified. Some people say it is between 10 billion USD and 55 Billion USD. That could by a lot of moles. Who knows?

Just Passin' ThruJune 7, 2017 10:45 PM

@65535

Can black and white printers or monochrome printers defeat this tracing of yellow dot identification?

If you are concerned about your copies' yellow-dot tagging, you could print off the original data on whatever printer is available, then copy those printouts thru some other printer, using a clear yellow-film celluloid between the lens and the prints being copied. You can find these as heat-shrink covering film for RC model airplanes or auto headlight films, and perhaps as clear yellow celluloid sheets if you look hard.

Of course, the 2nd printer shouldn't be associated with you, and should be a black & white printer or can print sans yellow cartridge.

David HendersonJune 8, 2017 1:56 AM

65535:

My Chromebook is going across the Canadian border with me in a week because it can be reset to its benign factory state so easily before I come back to the US.
(Schneier wrote about this problem here:
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/07/laptop_security.html
)

A Chromebook solves my border crossing privacy dilemma because it is effectively stateless. Its also common enough to not generate suspicions the same way my LUKS protected main laptop would be.

Its an ARM chromebook so torbrowser is not available. A kali Linux bootimage is available.

I've been a Debian user for about 3 years and Kali is just a repackaged version of Debian testing. I'm not trying for complete security, just practical privacy

matteoJune 8, 2017 5:56 AM

"Surveillance intermediaries have the financial and ideological incentives to resist government requests for user data"

what if is the OPPOSITE?
think about facebook, in china is censored so it can't make money by selling people data but if it comply with china requests to censor some words then china will allow facebook and it will make more money.
same can be applied to surveillance:
"allow us to spy on people or we will block you and you will not make money by selling tracking data"

vas pupJune 8, 2017 8:46 AM

Manufacturers of printers as intermediaries:
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170607-why-printers-add-secret-tracking-dots
At that point, experts began taking a closer look at the document, now publicly available on the web. They discovered something else of interest: yellow dots in a roughly rectangular pattern repeated throughout the page. They were barely visible to the naked eye, but formed a coded design. After some quick analysis, they seemed to reveal the exact date and time that the pages in question were printed: 06:20 on 9 May, 2017 – at least, this is likely to be the time on the printer’s internal clock at that moment. The dots also encode a serial number for the printer.
These “microdots” are well known to security researchers and civil liberties campaigners. Many colour printers add them to documents without people ever knowing they’re there.
Another observer was security researcher Rob Graham, who published a blog post explaining how to identify and decode the dots. Based on their positions when plotted against a grid, they denote specific hours, minutes, dates and numbers. Several security experts who decoded the dots came up with the same print time and date.
“People could use this to check for forgeries,” he explains. “If they get a document and someone says it’s from 2005, [the microdots might reveal] it’s from the last several months.”
If you do encounter microdots on a document at some point, the EFF has an online tool that should reveal what information the pattern encodes.
Hidden messages
Similar kinds of steganography – secret messages hidden in plain sight – have been around for much longer.
Slightly more famously, many banknotes around the world feature a peculiar five-point pattern called the Eurion constellation. In an effort to avoid counterfeiting, many photocopiers and scanners are programmed not to produce copies of the banknotes when this pattern is recognized.
The NSA itself points to a fascinating historical example of tiny dots forming messages – from World War Two. German spies in Mexico were found to have taped tiny dots inside the envelope concealing a memo for contacts in Lisbon.
At the time, these spies were operating undercover and were trying to get materials from Germany, such as radio equipment and secret ink. The Allies intercepted these messages, however, and disrupted the mission. The tiny dots used by the Germans were often simply bits of unencrypted text miniaturised to the size of a full-stop.


albertJune 8, 2017 9:18 AM

@Just Passin' Thru, et al,

"...or can print sans yellow cartridge...."

This is an interesting idea. Has anyone tried it? You'd have to defeat the 'no cartridge' detection, and the 'low toner' detection to avoid the warnings. There may be impedance detection on the piezo drivers. I wonder if the yellow cartridge circuitry is different from the the others...


. .. . .. --- ....

David HendersonJune 8, 2017 11:57 AM

More on chromebook (from mateo):

When running chromium OS (the open source version of chrome OS) you have to be running in developer mode. This mode is dangerous, and unless you set a chromeos password the terminal window is running with root privs without even being prompted. Exiting developer mode resets the internal ssd.

I've wiped out the bios several times and had to restore from a flash drive. I'm pretty sure this rewrites the bios completely(except for the write-protected area of the bios).

The bios write protect switch on my chromebook is a screw that you take out once the case is opened. If someone gets to the hardware at this level the whole idea of privacy via a netbook is lost.

The threat I want to protect against is having the hard drive imaged as part of a border crossing inspection. Restoring the chromebook to its factory fresh state takes care of only the imaging threat. Its not intended as protection from an Evil Maid.

Who?June 8, 2017 1:03 PM

@ David Henderson

When running chromium OS (the open source version of chrome OS) you have to be running in developer mode. This mode is dangerous, and unless you set a chromeos password the terminal window is running with root privs without even being prompted. Exiting developer mode resets the internal ssd.

I guess not only the terminal is running with root privileges then. Running this way is extremely dangerous, as any bug will be executed with the maximum privilege level allowed by the operating system. It is much safer running as unprivileged user on your own hardware.

While here, Chromium OS is just an unofficial build of Chrome OS. I would trust on this operating system as many as I trust on the Chrome/Chromium browser or Android. They are just another surveillance platform, and one written by a team that not only despises privacy but also secure coding practices.

I like the idea of some sort of physical write protection for firmware a lot. I do not care if it is by means of a jumper, a switch or a screw. It is a good design that should be re-adopted by industry.

VinnyGJune 8, 2017 1:47 PM

So, what are the practical impediments to attacking the id dot problem at the printer? Is it not improbable that every printer manufacturer reinvented the wheel in the implementation of this requirement? Shouldn't it be possible to find common code artifacts (even without source listings) in driver or PROM logic where this is happening, and hack/patch the offending code to eliminate, or perhaps better, modify the pattern to indicate a different printer device? Barring that, shouldn't it be possible to intercept the print commands and identify those for the yellow dot pattern (particularly after the pattern for a given device is determined) and do likewise?

-VG

albertJune 8, 2017 1:57 PM

@Daniel, @Who?,..

For decades, physical write protect on the BIOS has always been a great idea. Of course, the bad guys will know how to access it as well, so you should have a way of testing the BIOS to see if it's been tampered with. Alternatively, you could just reflash it if anyone had access to your laptop outside of your view. Personally, I'd be curious to find out.

. .. . .. --- ....

albertJune 8, 2017 2:53 PM

@VinnyG,

This was discussed in earlier posts (try a search). Remember the original 'reason' for these ID patterns was to trace currency counterfeiters, since the laser printers deposit toner on the surface of the paper, much like the intaglio process used by legit currency printers.

I imagine that it would be relatively easy to 'layer in' the yellow code as the image is stored in memory. You don't want to eliminate the yellow code; that would mark you for sure, nor do you want to point at someone else. Your printers serial number is embedded in its firmware, so that would be a problem. Then, the manufacturers records could be checked.

Bottom line: it's way too complicated to be worth the trouble. Buy a laser printer from someone you don't know (and pay cash:)

Now, I'm thinking 'why not do this in -all- color printers?'....but I'm too lazy to look it up.

It's wasteful and expensive to print b/w on color printers, so I don't see any reason to worry about it. For untraceability, use b/w.

. .. . .. --- ....

David HendersonJune 8, 2017 4:47 PM

re: Who? on privacy running ChromiumOS/Chromium browser.

You convinced me not to run ChromiumOS.
I've also rejected using the ARM chromebook at all for border crossing, even when running Kali Linux.
The main reason is that is has no dvd drive for nonvolatile backups.


What I'm going to do is use my Intel Debian system and make sure everything is backed up.

Right before I cross the border into the US I'll reinstall Debian from dvd so I have a pretty much unused system for customs to look at.

VSJune 8, 2017 8:28 PM

Facts do not support the author's argument.

The claims of "Surveillance intermediaries have the financial and ideological incentives to resist government requests for user data" run counter to well known facts that companies like ATT, Verizon, and Microsoft were way eager to cooperate in PRISM.

65535June 8, 2017 9:00 PM

@ Just Passin' Thru

“…copy those printouts thru some other printer, using a clear yellow-film celluloid between the lens and the prints being copied… the 2nd printer shouldn't be associated with you, and should be a black & white printer or can print sans yellow cartridge.”

The yellow film is interesting but somewhat of a PITA operation – but worthy of study. Your suggestion of printing with the “yellow” toner cartridge missing [or empty] is also interesting [As others have mentioned there may be a printer warning. Thanks Albert. .. . .. --- .... ].

I do a little of printer work with my other IT work. For business documents I usually recommend a laser monochrome [black and white] printer. It is simple and clean.

Color printers for business always seem to run out of one color - such as back - well before the other colors are empty [This hurts the customer but it can be quite lucrative to those of us who not only maintain computers but refill printers. I find that replacing toner and drum units is a fairly high profit segment of my business].

@ David Henderson

I guess you have altered you boarder travel plans with your Chromebook. I also don’t know if Chromium OS is stateless – or completely stateless as Matteo mentions. I agree the BIOS flashing is somewhat risky and running in root mode is very risky. It is a complex subject.

@ vas pup

Thanks for the good links and information on the yellow tracking dots and/or EURion Constellation. I wonder what Level 3 marks are?

“Casey says that there are also ‘Level 3’ features within banknotes that are even more secret than the EURion Constellation.”

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150624-the-secret-codes-of-british-banknotes

via

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170607-why-printers-add-secret-tracking-dots

@ alternate reality winner

Thanks for the good links. I wonder who made the EFF’s yellow dot decoder?

@ VinnyG

“Is it not improbable that every printer manufacturer reinvented the wheel in the implementation of this requirement? Shouldn't it be possible to find common code artifacts (even without source listings) in driver or PROM logic where this is happening, and hack/patch the offending code to eliminate, or perhaps better, modify the pattern to indicate a different printer device?” –VG

That is a good question.

It seems there is a huge effort to implant tracking code in various hardware devices so deep that it is extremely difficult to remove.

There are a lot of currencies and a lot of countries around the world. This type of activity on behalf of Printer/chip/code cutters is extensive and probably very expensive. It may be a cottage industry and probably a growing industry. It is also difficult to implant such code/hardware that is wide spread without it leaking out to the public domain… without extreme measures. It will be interesting to see which machine/or individual tracking identification method is exposed next.


OiJune 9, 2017 9:48 AM

lawful surveillance - quoted with a straight face

http://original.antiwar.com/colleen-rowley/2017/06/06/russia-gates-mythical-heroes/

"There was at least one security incident in Driebergen: De Volkskrant describes that during a meeting with FBI and FSB, a Russian official came to a member of the Dutch police team, pointed at someone from the FBI and said "he is copying your data". An investigator went looking and saw that indeed the American had a thumb drive in a police laptop and was copying Dutch information. Whether this had any consequences was not reported."

https://electrospaces.blogspot.hu/2017/06/dutch-russian-cyber-crime-case-reveals.html

The cub-scout credulity expressed here bodes ill for independent oversight of Tor. Tor needs oversees that the FBI mafiya can't dupe.

Who?June 9, 2017 10:25 AM

@ Albert, David, 65535

Please, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying a Chromebook is a bad hardware platform. It is just that it does not match the requirements for someone that wants security and/or privacy, but it is more a software issue.

Perhaps you will find useful this post from Joshua Stein:

https://jcs.org/notaweblog/2016/08/26/openbsd_chromebook/

The chromebook itself has a very good set of features. I really like the ability of disabling firmware upgrade by hardware. If this feature works as intended, a chromebook may be a robust platform against remote firmware attacks.

To me it is not clear there is a way to verify the firmware once it has been compromised. A system compromised at a firmware level may lie on a firmware verification. Same about reflashing the firmware. A system compromised at firmware level may just "simulate" a flashing process, if it is done using the currently compromised firmware. In this case I would choose using an external SPI programmer to rewrite the flash chip instead. Don't know enough about this architecture to say what can or cannot be done to it however.

albertJune 9, 2017 4:47 PM

@Who?,

I remember when reflashing the BIOS was done by booting a DOS disk with the new BIOS code and a loader. Simple, and no resident OS necessary. I suppose something similar could be done on modern hardware, but I have no idea how. Perhaps ROM'd code activated by a jumper, bypassing everything except a USB port? Too bad about serial ports...

. .. . .. --- ....

David hendersonJune 9, 2017 6:38 PM

re: Who? • June 9, 2017 10:25 AM

@ Albert, David, 65535
"Please, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying a Chromebook is a bad hardware platform. "

I dont think my ARM cromebook is a bad platform, its just does not meet my requirements for backup. I am clinically paranoid. I think that Murphy is alive and well and out to get me any way he can. I will insist on multiple low level backups before doing anything silly like crossing a border or installing a new version of Debian. Putting a tarball or Iso disk image on a flash drive is one way. I want to make sure I have a write once DVD as another way. The backup issue is my primary concern. I can mail DVD's and I'm pretty sure the postal service wont care.

The lack of multiple backups is why I discarded my ARM Chromebook scheme.

David HendersonJune 9, 2017 6:54 PM

addendum: I'm not sure I trust the cloud services to be there when I really need them.
Remember,. I'm paranoid.

DavidJune 14, 2017 11:08 AM

"Surveillance intermediaries have the financial and ideological incentives to resist government requests for user data."

There's ample evidence that the opposite is frequently true. Fail to play nice with the feds, and put yourself at risk for unfavorable regulation. Not to mention government contracts and research funding (OpenBSD and DARPA?).

vas pupJune 15, 2017 11:27 AM

@65535
I have kind of splinter in my brain related to those printers. It prints by dots so called printer system time. I guess professionals could adjust printer system time at the time of printing in order to format with dots other time than actual(forensic aspect).
As soon as printer is just specialized computer, and like with PCs professionals in a past could change system time (put it back) to extend period of free usage of application. In a movie (sorry, don't remember the title)criminals could even change system time on mainframe in big Asian financial institution). Do you have any input on that? Thank you.

Clive RobinsonJune 15, 2017 1:23 PM

@ vas pup,

In a movie ... criminals could even change system time on mainframe in big Asian financial institution

Was the male lead a bewiskered Sean Connery, and the female lead an athleticaly black jumpsuited Catherine Zeta-Jones? Doing a Y2K billion dollar hiest in the Petronas Towers then tallest building in the world?

If so it was,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrapment_(film)

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