Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Letter to Lexmark's Privacy Officer(s)

Having given up on getting a response through telephone support, I composed two identical letters today: I addressed the main one to the Lexmark's Canadian Privacy Officer, and CC'd it to their privacy officer in the States.

It reads:

To Whom It May Concern;

RE: Forensic Tracking Dots on Lexmark Colour Laser Printers

I am writing regarding an issue that has come to my attention regarding Lexmark colour laser printers and forensic tracking dot technology. In late October 2008, I was forwarded information that explained how tracking codes were embedded on all pages printed on colour laser printers. Alarmed, I went home and confirmed that my printer – a Lexmark C530dn, serial number 9416FX1 – indeed coated each page with a near-invisible screen of yellow dots.

I understand some of the reasons for including these tracking dots – counterfeit detection, namely – but I do not believe the technology is justified, especially without prior knowledge or consent from the consumer. It is a violation of my right to privacy for this technology to be included on my printer, as every document that I print is “watermarked” with a unique serial that can be traced back to me.

I would like to provide a brief background of the communication channels I’ve been through so far regarding this issue:

[removed... just read the previous blog posts!]

Having found Canadian phone support unsuccessful, I now resort to writing letters. I respectfully request that the following six questions be answered, as I have been unable to find a satisfactory answer to them so far:

· Is it absolutely true, as Brian at Lexmark International stated, that it is impossible to disable the forensic tracking dots? If not, what method can I use to disable the tracking dots?

· Is a solution being developed, or will a solution be developed, to disable the yellow tracking dots?

· What American law, as Brian at Lexmark International indicated, mandates the inclusion of yellow tracking dots on colour laser printers?

· Does this law apply in Canada? Is this legal in Canada? If so, please indicate exactly which laws make this so.

· Are there other security features embedded in this printer that make it easier to track documents I print?

· Will Lexmark willingly provide information to their consumers – previous or potential – regarding the forensic tracking dot feature?

I appreciate your time and consideration in responding to this request for additional information. If you require any additional information on my behalf, I’ve kept detailed records of correspondence to date, and would be happy to provide it.

I was fairly impressed at Lexmark's response time for the last correspondence I sent. Let's see if I can get any real answers out of their privacy officers. Stay tuned.

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