Have you ever used a color laser printer to print a dirty picture? Or photocopied some porn on a color photocopier? If you’re male and have had routine unsupervised access to such devices, you know you have. No point in trying to deny it.

But did you know that the spiffy new porn steaming in your output tray is secretly encoded with your printer serial number and other info that could be used to identify you?

That’s a function your government got snuck into your hardware, ostensibly to catch counterfeiters. But nobody knows what else they are using the secret markings for. If you print subversive fliers or protest literature, it might be smart to worry.

And if you want to know more, what do you do? Which machines are spying on you? And what data are they writing on your documents? Is it just color laser devices? The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) is trying to find out for you. And they need help. Money is always good, but they also need more data. Details here.

Me, I don’t like the very idea of having government agents pressure tech companies into putting sneaky “features” into their products. Does your DVD burner secretly encode every disk you burn with its serial number and the name you gave Windows when you set up your email account? Does your video camera secretly encode your treasured first-person footage of your girlfriend’s cum-covered face with date, time, and the camera serial number that’s in your customer records at Best Buy? Probably not. But in a world where things like this happen, is it paranoid to wonder?