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    Given the state of 3D printing technology, it seems reasonable that someone could take the old school printing press route by 3D printing a document and using that to apply ink to paper.

    This is much slower, more inconvenient, and costly of course, but if you need to make lots of copies of something without recognizable handwriting or tracking, it’d work.

    I’m curious now as to whether there’s any existing software to convert postscript to the required data a 3D printer would need

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      You could get a plotter relatively cheaply, with native postscript support and no tracking dots!

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        But now you have a physical block to dispose of, and ink and rollers. And you’ll likely add fingerprints while printing.

        The idea is neat, though. You can 3d-print a block which uses a nice dithering pattern, and print that by hand.

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        Suggest folding this into https://lobste.rs/s/hmuecw/list_printers_which_do_do_not_display, as it’s the technology underlying that discussion.

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          Oh, I didn’t see that was posted yesterday, wouldn’t have submitted this link otherwise.

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            Thank you @gerikson, I have merged story t0tbrw in to hmuecw. @zge, not to worry about submitting a link that gets merged. Once someone volunteers to implement Issue #519 you’ll be able to confirm a suggestion like this and see the story merged. Until then I’m happy do it manually.

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            What legitimate reasons would there be to worry about that a specific piece of paper is produced at a particular printer, and that that could be traced?

            I can think of issues where someone wants to blow the whistle anonymously, and must deliver evidence on paper. Other than that, I can’t think of a case where this is a problem for “normal people”.

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              That’s pretty much the reason. It’s a mechanism of control.

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                False attribution is always a problem. Like with botnets: they’re often hacked computers leased by the bot herder to third parties to commit crimes in name of hacked person. Those crimes range from annoying to serious. The Feds are probably used to accounting for that. Would they consider false attribution if evidence, esp a “confession,” came from my printer?

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                  This works both ways - if I were to be framed by someone, the printer fingerprint can help to exonerate me.

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                    Maybe. It might be treated differently in that scenario. It’s worth remembering that we have an adversarial system. The Feds and prosecutor are looking to convict, not exonerate, you. They might be selective in what they “find” and present. I prefer they have fewer types of fungible evidence just in case. Making them stick to stronger types of evidence keeps targets of overzealous prosecution safer.

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                      This privacy issue is piddling compared to the fact that LEO can usually track your every move using cellphone networks if they get the warrant. And if they suspect a certain printer, most modern ones have a record of every document printed and by whom in its internal harddrive.

                      Heck, every time I print something here at work I have to use my access card to get to my docs in the spool.

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                      If printer fingerprints can be used as evidence, that weakens the defense in cases of false attribution. Best to leave burden of proof where it is. (IANAL, obviously)