Your Personal Computer is very personal in a very bad way / by kevin murray

Seemingly, no matter what you do, even your own personal computer and its peripheral devices act as if it is your "big brother", most of the time without you even remotely being aware that this is happening.  For instance, most everyone has a printer in order to print out and to document items of importance, but that color printer, depending upon its make, inkjet or laser, and sophistication of said printer may easily have an invisible code that identifies that printer to the actual user.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) discovered that certain laser printers contained a coding pattern of virtually invisible yellow dots placed into an arrangement that shows: "…which printer was used to print a particular document, and sometimes also shows when it was printed."  The ostensible reason for the large conglomerate printer manufacturers to add this hidden tracking device onto their color printers is so as to help identify and to convict money counterfeiters, but in reality this sophistication can just as easily be used for sophisticated domestic surveillance and consequently to stifle or to compromise legal civil dissent that our government finds to be "inconvenient".


Most computers have a combined CD/DVD burner to which whenever a CD or DVD is created (burned) that CD or DVD probably will contain as part of that burning mechanism a unique sequence of numbers that identifies clearly the source of the CD or DVD which can then be consequently verified and cross-checked against the CD/DVD burner that resides within your personal computer.   Further, most blank CDs or DVDs contain within the center of the disc itself, coding information, that enables a government agency to determine where the batch came from, and subsequently perhaps even where they were purchase from or a general idea thereof.


Microsoft Office is America's most popular word processing and document creating platform, but contained within Word are tools that track the creation of a document which when unmasked will show changes/comments/corrections and dates that are all contained within the details of the document itself, which will also feature as wellthe original author information, and additionally in all probability a unique number or coding sequence assigned to the document which will probably identify the Word document against the purchased copy of Word itself. 


If you use your computer to download documents or media files, you may not be aware that this too is tracked by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to which the very fact that you have downloaded a file will be part of their database, identifying you through your unique Internet Protocol (IP) address that is assigned to your personal computer upon signing up for ISP service.  This means that should you download a document that is copyrighted, you may receive a warning or worse from an agency or company demanding payment or the possibility of a lawsuit for the violation of federal copyright laws.


None of the above items fit the description of items that consumers would be clamoring for while purchasing and subsequently using a PC but they are all there to track you, to monitor you, to harass you, to compromise you, and to convict you.  Your personal computer is an evidence gathering machine whether you like it or not.