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Old 08 May 2010, 09:13 PM
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snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
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Icon27 Photocopiers record everything

Comment: This a very troubling story.

And before you think "yeah, well, I never use a copier, not even at the office supply/shipping store", think of all those who have your papers that do. Accountants, attorneys, health professionals,banks...the list goes on.

Watch it to the end for the scariest bit. Identity theft, anyone?
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Old 08 May 2010, 09:23 PM
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Wild Redhead Wild Redhead is offline
Join Date: 21 June 2007
Location: Georgia
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Holy Moley! I never really thought about whether or not copiers had hard drives. It makes sense that they do. This kind of freaks me out. The scariest bit is at the end! I wonder how many identities have been stolen this way.
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Old 08 May 2010, 10:15 PM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,721

Yeah, it would never have occurred to me either.

I can't tell who exactly they're "blaming" in that. They seemed to be saying that the general public needed to "take responsibility", but without access to the workings of the copier, all you could do would be just not to copy any important documents using one of those. And since you sometimes need to copy important documents, that basically means everybody should stop using copiers until images aren't saved to a hard-drive by default.

The people who own the copiers certainly should be aware that they need to clear all the data periodically and before getting rid of the copiers, but I bet it's not all that clear in the instructions that they should. I can't really blame them for not knowing either, unless they're in a really high-security environment. Most of the responsibility has to be on the manufacturers, for making the copiers automatically do that in the first place without telling people...

Why do they need to save images to the hard drive by default, anyway? Surely they could include enough memory for temporary storage these days, and clear it after each print run. It's not adding any convenience for the user in most cases, because you're standing next to the machine while you use it, and need to leave the original there, anyway.

(eta) I assume that a home desktop copier-cum-printer has no hard drive in it and the images aren't saved unless you use it as a scanner connected to a PC. Mine works as a copier even when not plugged into a PC, but there's no indication anywhere that it has a hard drive of its own, and I don't see why it would need one.
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Old 08 May 2010, 10:34 PM
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llewtrah llewtrah is offline
Join Date: 13 December 2001
Location: Chelmsford, UK
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I know that modern copiers (most are multi-function devices) have storage otherwise they just wouldn't work they way they do. Maybe I'm a bit more aware as I've seen the innards of copiers right from my first office job in the mid 80s, to working in a reprographics dept to just being a user in my current jobs (in my early jobs up to reprographics dept days I was very friendly with the maintenance engineers and had a crash course in fixing simple faults to avoid so many callouts). Not that I'm a Photocopier Spotter or anything .....
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Old 08 May 2010, 10:40 PM
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videoguy videoguy is offline
Join Date: 11 September 2006
Location: Clarence, NY
Posts: 1,197

That is troubling. Someone in Singapore could be looking at a picture of my bare ass right now.
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Old 08 May 2010, 10:55 PM
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llewtrah llewtrah is offline
Join Date: 13 December 2001
Location: Chelmsford, UK
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Luckily my bare ass would be safe - our copiers are on a network inside a firewall (defence company). Not that I've been making copies of my bare ass, at least not recently. In fact not since Xmas 85 when we made a loop of copies of bare ass pics, put it in the fax machine so it went round and round forever and sent it to our rivals to run them out of fax paper .... Those were the days!
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Old 08 May 2010, 11:03 PM
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Johnny Slick Johnny Slick is offline
Join Date: 13 February 2003
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 11,628

I worked at a Kinko's for almost a year and didn't realize this. Okay, that's because this was the mid-90s and not all copiers had hard drives at the time. The Docutech did, obviously, because you could pull up print jobs on it. In retrospect, it was pretty obvious that the color machines did as well.

And now on the flip side I'm more than a little skittish about using Kinko's. I'll have to ask them about copier security the next time I'm in there.
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Old 10 May 2010, 08:03 PM
FullMetal FullMetal is offline
Join Date: 19 December 2005
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 1,376

not news to me, every copier I ever decommissioned from any of my clients. one thing I didn't like is the report seemed to indicate that every single one of the 200,000 copies was stored on the hdd, which is not the case, as the hdds couldn't possibly store that many images. they don't compress the images, the images are scanned and printed automatically. they are actually deleted immediately afterwards. the problem is inherent with HDDs, the shadow of the file remains on the hard drive. They don't have access without some knowledge or work to it. you also have no idea what you're getting. sure you might get that, but you might also get grade 1 homework... or thousands of useless forms.

I think the big thing that this does and should be enforced, is that the leasing companies don't wipe the hdd or settings after they pick it up to sell to a 3rd party. that could potentially be a breach of contract, all the leases I've looked at, have all had clauses to wipe all personal data off of the copier when returned. This would be a breach of that contract. now they could claim that the data was wiped off, but it doesn't take long to run DBAN on the hdds, which renders the data inaccessible. reload the software needed onto the hdd, and away you go.

selling a copier without removing the previous client's info, is horrible and the leasing companies should be sued for that. heck even the fax numbers... There could be confidential information with regards to that as well. you'll probabally have email addresses, and all kinds of goodies too. (some of which aren't stored on that hard drive that gets wiped by these guys, but in a flash module in the controller)
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