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Monday, November 22, 2004

MURDER, She wrote

At first, when I read this on Slashdot - how many color laser printers employ microprinting on every document they produce to identify the printer to law enforcement - I thought, "How sinister!"

That's just creepy - imagine: the Law can read a printed document and trace it back to you?

But then, after a minute's harrumph, perhaps not? It isn't creepy at all: it's just the return of the dodgy typewriter key, staple of detective fiction through the ages? A micro-printed watermark is just like that off-centered "T" with its rough little edges that Poirot knows came from La Machine de la Madame Scarlét, that proves she wrote the ransom note for the kidnapped little boy who was found in a ditch with his ears cut off.

I feel better.

For what it is worth, my wife only recently pointed-out the microprinting on our checkbook. I didn't know it was there. She is of the belief that this counter-forger tool was invented by noted crook-turned-cop, Frank Abagnale Jr. But then, she also believed the "World Series" was named for the New York World newspaper, and not for american arrogance as we Brits prefer to believe. But Volokh's blown that theory out the water today already!



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