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Cheap Scanners Can "Fingerprint" Paper

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the to-go-with-the-mandated-yellow-dots dept.

Input Devices 88

carusoj writes "Researchers at Princeton University and University College London say they can identify unique information, essentially like a fingerprint, from any blank sheet of paper using any reasonably good scanner. The technique could be used to crack down on counterfeiting or even keep track of confidential documents. The researchers' paper on the finding is set to be presented at an IEEE security conference in Oakland, Calif., in May." Update: 03/10 22:43 GMT by T : J. Alex Halderman, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan and one of the authors of the study, writes with more: "My group has just put up a site about the work and a copy of the full paper, and we will probably add a video later tonight."

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88 comments

Dirty Fingers (0, Offtopic)

XaviorPenguin (789745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136097)

They could use this at Police Stations so that way they wouldn't have to use the fingerprint ink and such I would suppose.

Less cleanup, no paper towels to use to dry off your hands after you use soap and water to wash your hands. It would save some money in the long run....a very long run.

Re:Dirty Fingers (3, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136433)

You must not have been arrested recently. I was picked up on an ancient traffic ticket about 4 years ago, and they used an optical scanner to take fingerprints, so there was no ink. Of course, the scanner tended to mess up a lot if your fingers were sweaty due to, say, just having been arrested, so getting fingerprinted was an ordeal in itself.

That being said, though, this article seems to be more about getting identifiable fingerprints OF a piece of paper, not getting a person's fingerprints FROM a piece of paper. I'm not sure I see the use case in this, since companies don't maintain fingerprint records of the paper they sell, and doing so would be impractical given how much paper is produced on a daily basis.

Re:Dirty Fingers (1, Informative)

XaviorPenguin (789745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136563)

I have been arrested.

Last year as a matter of fact. Where I was at, they used ink. Bad thing was, it was in St. Louis. :(

Re:Dirty Fingers (1)

xeoron (639412) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141625)

I have never been to that city, let alone state. What is so bad about being arrested their compared to elsewhere?

Re:Dirty Fingers (4, Interesting)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137073)

i was fingerprinted when i got a bartenders license. they had me use hand sanitizer to moisten my fingertips when i used the optical scanner and it gave a better read.

Re:Dirty Fingers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137597)

I'm not sure what's sounds more weird, needing a license to bartend or getting fingerprinted to be a bartender. Was this in the US or another country? If in the US, what state/region?

Re:Dirty Fingers (1)

timbck2 (233967) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137699)

New Mexico requires a license to bartend, though I don't know if they fingerprint for it.

Re:Dirty Fingers (1)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137847)

Milwaukee, WI

i think it is to see if you are who you say you are. they require exemptions if you have committed a felony or had a alcohol-related crime. but then again the government never needed a reason to try and build a database of fingerprints/DNA

Re:Dirty Fingers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139059)

I sanitized a paper with a hand sanitizer before scanning and now I can identify it more clearly.

Re:Dirty Fingers (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137463)

I see a very cool use case: Scan every single item of paper money we produce. Generate a hash value that matches each unique bill. Use the US government's private key to sign the hash value, and print this signature on every bill as a bar-code, easily scanned by any scanner. Goodbye counterfeiters.

Re:Dirty Fingers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137693)

This would be great if it was economically feasible to do this to all US currency everywhere. Problem is, so long as any of the old bills are in circulation, those old bills can potentially be counterfeited.

Re:Dirty Fingers (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138243)

oh come on! by that logic, all these changes to modernize bills every two years would be a huge waste of taxpayer money!

Re:Dirty Fingers (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141103)

It isn't? I'm sure that all these trillions of dollars that is going to the stimulus package is more than all the money counterfeited in the last ~40 years.

Re:Dirty Fingers (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138217)

In Duluth, GA, they use ink. Or at least, they did for all the black people in front of me. I was never fingerprinted.

Re:Dirty Fingers (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138051)

And better yet they could do it without the criminal knowing, so there is no messy civil rights entanglements.

Re:Dirty Fingers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27138605)

Horribly written title and summary but I think they're identifying the paper itself...not the fingerprints on it.

I always wonder (-1, Offtopic)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136111)

when the next "law and order" story will center on the yellow dots that laser printers leave or, now, this paper fingerprinting. The "bug" will love it.

Re:I always wonder (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136311)

Can they fingerprint toilet paper? If so, maybe this could be used to detect if moon-ghosts have been using the toilets on space-ships returning to earth, while stowing away on board?

Re:I always wonder (0, Troll)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136527)

There was at least 1 episode a few years back on Law and Order... my guess is either SVU or CI.

In any case, they traced the paper down to the office it was printed on because of marks left by the printer by testing all of the printers within a certain building that employed a number of "persons of interest."

I don't recall if that episode focused on the spots left on purpose, or if it was dirty roller in the printer. But there may have been more episodes that focused on either that I didn't see.

I wonder (-1, Offtopic)

amori (1424659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136193)

Taping my fingertips...

Re:I wonder (1)

XaviorPenguin (789745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136229)

Don't do that! Become a MIB agent and put your fingers in that device that erases your fingerprints. Hurts for a sec and then you are done!

Re:I wonder (5, Funny)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136697)

Or you could be an idiot, as I was as a kid, and wonder if the car lighter actually gets hot. Then have concentric rings for a fingerprint for the next month :P

Less commitment than MIB, but also less alien slaying.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137459)

I guess I'm not the only one that did that as a kind. It wasn't glowing red so I didn't think it would be hot... holy shit was I wrong. Blistered up and filled with water, popped it in math class and the raw meat under the blister hurt even more than the burnt skin!

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27138025)

I've done it to :)

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27141213)

I'm doing it again tomorrow!

Not *actual* fingerprints (4, Informative)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136205)

Features that act like fingerprints.

Things like fiber arrangement, etc

Re:Not *actual* fingerprints (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136321)

Hence the quotes around "Fingerprint".

Re:Not *actual* fingerprints (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136347)

Yes, it looks like we can both read. Unlike the first 10 comments or so that talked about putting tape on their fingers...

Re:Not *actual* fingerprints (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27142237)

See, I though the quotes meant to retrieve fingerprints, as in "Fingerprint the suspect" or "Fingerprint the car door". The tag on the RSS feed said 'Cheap Scanners Can "Fingerprint" Paper' and for a moment, I thought me and my Visioneer were off to a wonderful new career in forensics... Crap....

Re:Not *actual* fingerprints (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27144943)

They changed the text after it went live (and I posted my comment). You aren't going crazy.

Re:Not *actual* fingerprints (0, Flamebait)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136625)

No shit, sherlock, hence the use of scare quotes around fingerprint.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes [wikipedia.org]

Scare quotes is a term for a particular use of quotation marks. In this application the quotation marks are placed around a single word or phrase, and they indicate that the word or phrase does not signify its literal or conventional meaning but should be interpreted with one of the alternative meanings described below.

yeah, and? (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136215)

Professional counterfeiters won't be deterred by this. It'll only catch the teenagers that try to print twenty dollar bills to pay for their school lunches. Much like how Photoshop won't edit files with a certain shade of green, or how ink jet printers embed a unique identifier in the yellow ink output. *shrug* It's amusing that most counterfeit money comes from Iran from a pair of printing presses that are identical to the ones used here in the United States, yet there's all this effort on trying to curb production from Joe Average. Most real threats come from sophisticated operations like that, and require a team to combat. This is nothing more than a novelty.

Re:yeah, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136381)

For one there is always Gimp to solve your problems. And on the other hand this application does not seem to resemble a way to fight off money printing.

Personally I think this whole idea of tuning the scanners a bit so they can claim they can tell the difference from two perfectly identical documents is just another attempt to get some attention on Slashdot.

Re:yeah, and? (1)

cheftw (996831) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137777)

Much like how Photoshop won't edit files with a certain shade of green

Is this true? Google didn't turn up and I must admit I've never (knowingly) run afoul of it in my own experience.

Link please?

Re:yeah, and? (4, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138027)

it's not the shade of green, it's the yellow ring pattern

Re:yeah, and? (2, Informative)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141897)

Actually Photoshop and Paintshop Pro don't use the EURion constellation, they detect a digital watermark.

Colour photocopiers detect the EURion marking though.

Re:yeah, and? (3, Informative)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138069)

Re:yeah, and? (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140243)

not the colour, it's EURion constellation [wikimedia.org]

There was some prize available for anyone who could figure-out how to print it on a t-shirt such that digital cameras refused to take photos of you.

Re:yeah, and? (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140533)

not the colour, it's EURion constellation [wikimedia.org]

There was some prize available for anyone who could figure-out how to print it on a t-shirt such that digital cameras refused to take photos of you.

May as well correct myself [cam.ac.uk] before anyone else does.

Re:yeah, and? (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140469)

It's amusing that most counterfeit money comes from Iran from a pair of printing presses that are identical to the ones used here in the United States, yet there's all this effort on trying to curb production from Joe Average.

Funny thing about those perfect printing presses, for a while they were in North Korea. Before that China, and the Chinese probably bought them from the USSR. It's almost like they're an urban legend that springs up whenever there's a particular set of dastardly freedom-hating furriners we all need to be fearful of...

Re:yeah, and? (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141747)

The presses are no big deal, any off set will do the job. What's supposedly hard to get is in this order.

1. The Plates 2. The Ink 3. The Paper

Then of course there are all of the security features that you need to find your way around.

Deterrent (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27142995)

Of course the professionals will continue to print. The reason they make it hard to counterfeit is to stop the casual guy in his basement and making a mess of the money supply.

You can never stop the hardcore well financed criminals.

Re:Deterrent (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 5 years ago | (#27185339)

You do realize that the best way to get the US out of this credit crisis enchanted-debt-ring is to start printing dollars with no debt attached to them?

Re:yeah, and? (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27158791)

This is much more than a novelty. It can verify with a high level of certainty that something is an original document (provided you trust the signature database). The uses in the legal profession are innumerable.

useless! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136281)

Sorry, but this is only really useful in identifying leaks if the leaked document is either A) the original document or B) a high resolution/low contrast scan of the original document. Please note that documents are generally scanned at low resolution and high contrast to aid readability. The high contrast completely blows the background (i.e. the fingerprint) out.

Also, the minute a document is reproduced (fax, copier, laser printer, whatever), the fingerprint is destroyed.

Re:useless! (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137043)

A scanner could be configured to randomly sample places on the page at high-res and store that information with the high-contrast/low res scanned file.

Re:useless! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137179)

So, assuming the leaked document is scanned on such a scanner, with a driver that embeds a magic hash, you still have to use an image processing chain that will preserve that information...and you still have accept that the minute the scan is printed, the information is destroyed...and you still need access to a special version of the file (in this case one that still has your magic hash embedded in it) in order to determine the source of the leak.

In short, it's not quite useless, but it's useful in such a narrow set of circumstances that it might as well be useless.

Re:useless! (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139809)

The point is more to give it a chance to prove its usefulness or uselessness, and not just trash it outright.

Re:useless! (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140837)

No, I'm afraid you missed the point of this. The point isn't to identify a leak from a scan found in the wild, but rather to identify the origin of a paper that a forensics team would be in possession of, as to prove its authenticity. If you RTFA you would have read that it actually takes four scans of the document rotated by 90 degrees (so the light angle is different) to build that "fingerprint".

I can't help but feel it's a bit obvious (0, Redundant)

Camann (1486759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136305)

"Two blank pieces of paper may look identical, but if you hold them to a light, you can see that in fact they're unique mashups of fibers."

In other news, the sun rose again this morning.

hm (2, Interesting)

jperl (1453911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136465)

"A drug company like Pfizer, for example, could take fingerprints of their labels when they are shipped, and this data could be verified later by a government or company representative in order to spot fakes."

In times people consciously order fake viagra or fake diet pills this might not help.

Neat But... (3, Insightful)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136467)

This won't stop money counterfeiters from creating money. Even if you added some kind of barcode that contained the fingerprint of the paper to every bill, the overhead to scan the bill would make it worthwhile only to large bills, so the counterfeiters stick to small bills. Or they reverse the fingerprint process and print valid barcodes on the bills they counterfeit.

But in terms of tracking objects, it's a great idea. If a document winds up in the wrong hands and the authorities recover it, they could then trace it back to its origins. Take it a step further and apply the concept to other objects. Maybe use xrays on components of a car to help ID stolen parts. Cost of implementation would make this work only with very high-end autos. Maybe something similar for weapons? Serial numbers can be filed down, but changing the unique composition of the metal would require a bit more work.

The best thing is it works with existing items, so you don't have to force people to buy new items for the system to work.

Re:Neat But... (1)

happy_hedgehog (1337023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137645)

Solution you propose is already sold in Czech. You buy spray can full of microdots (0.4mm) with unique hologram id. Use it on your car parts and you can prove your ownership even if car is disassembled to parts.

Re:Neat But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27140037)

Now they clean the parts and spray with there own id, and say "it can't be your car part it has my id all over it."

Re:Neat But... (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 5 years ago | (#27147989)

This won't stop money counterfeiters from creating money. Even if you added some kind of barcode that contained the fingerprint of the paper to every bill, the overhead to scan the bill would make it worthwhile only to large bills, so the counterfeiters stick to small bills. Or they reverse the fingerprint process and print valid barcodes on the bills they counterfeit.

Surely there's already perfectly good scanners out there for detecting fake currency. It's just that most establishments that handle money (stores, fast food joints, etc.) can't be bothered with the overhead of purchasing thousands of units to deploy with their cash registers, and also don't want to take the efficiency hit of running the money through a scanner (or just having the tiller look at it in UV or whatever) before putting in the till.

What you could theoretically use this technology for is to trace the fake bill back to the creator but as it stands you would first have to build a humongous database with the fingerprints of every single sheet of blank paper that has been distributed to the buying public, with detailed data on who actually received each of those sheets. Sounds prohibitively expensive both to create and to maintain. What the article doesn't say much about is the false positive rate in such a large population of samples.

HP did this 10 years ago... (2, Informative)

JRHelgeson (576325) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136633)

HP released a palm-held page scanner that you would wipe across the paper like a squeegee. It would scan the text and assemble the entire page based upon the unique grain pattern in the paper. The market didn't understand the concept, wasn't ready for a briefcase document scanner, whatever the case was, but it failed and was withdrawn from market.

Re:HP did this 10 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136791)

The only scanner I recall that was remotely like what you're talking about was a pen-shaped scanner that you'd swipe along a single line of text to scan (and/or OCR) it. It failed because...well...just imagine having to scan in a ten page document (60+ lines per page) that way.

Re:HP did this 10 years ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27148533)

I had this for my Commodore-64 too. Worked amazingly well.

Fingerprints printed on paper can be used to fool (0, Offtopic)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136851)

Fingerprints printed on paper can be used to fool high end Fingerprints scanners as well the mythbusters did that.

Is this Mac compatible? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136933)

-Beastmom

Correction (3, Funny)

batquux (323697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137063)

The researchers' paper on the finding is set to be presented at an IEEE security conference in Oakland, Calif., in May.

After a high resolution scan, it turns out this is not the researchers' paper after all.

In the courts (1)

prakslash (681585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137271)

Beyond counterfeiting, there are uses of this technology in criminal investigations.

Say, someone sent a threatening letter to someone and then eventually murdered them.
Later, the murderer denies having written that letter.
The paper on which the threatening letter was written could be tied to the paper in the murderer's home using this kind of fingerprinting.

Of course, the courts in general have to be convinced of the uniqueness of this fingerprint before this could be used.

Re:In the courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27137545)

You are confused. What you're talking about is already possible, and it's not terribly useful. Saying to a judge, "This sheet of paper is Staples Brand Inkjet office paper, the same brand Suspect X used at home!" isn't very convincing. This fingerprinting can identify, uniquely, a single piece of paper. So, you print your secret document on a piece of paper that you've fingerprinted, and if it's stolen you can figure out who you gave that copy to.

Assuming that it's not faxed, not re-printed, not retyped, not dictated over the phone, not photographed with a normal camera, or not scanned on a normal scanner with normal setting (all of which will destroy the fingerprint). And assuming that you recover the original document or get a high quality scan from which you can do an analysis on. Needless to say, the string of events in which this process could actually be used are highly unlikely.

Not news (1)

Teferison (1403841) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137483)

This is not news, the university of applied sciences in Mannheim worked on this several years ago, and it is already implemented in their diplomas.
Interestingly they discovered it as a side effect, while trying to cramp more data on a sheet of paper.

This is the german page where you can test a diploma: https://zeugnis.hs-mannheim.de/ [hs-mannheim.de]

Interesting... (1)

Jonas Buyl (1425319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137717)

I'm currently developing a Java fingerprinting library ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/jfooid/ [sourceforge.net] ) and it's learned me if you want to fingerprint something, it needs a certain unique continuity. Fingerprints have that in their unique curves. Audio has it in the sound wave but I don't see how a piece of paper has that, let alone be able to distinguish a copy from an original.

This makes very little sense (2, Insightful)

DrVomact (726065) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138005)

The more I think about this less than astonishing breakthrough, the less sense it makes to me. It seems to me that, as described, the technique is useful only in proving that a piece of paper is identical to itself. Unless you're fascinated by tautologies, this is not exactly exciting; furthermore, none of the uses cited in the article seem plausible.

For example, how could this technique be used to detect counterfeit currency? As everyone who has ever thought of combining a 20 dollar bill and a Xerox machine knows, just copying the bill doesn't produce a convincing fake, because the mint uses special paper to print currency. Is the author of this article suggesting that we scan every bill that's printed, file the scans by serial number, then scan every bill that's spent, and compare the scan against the database? Even comparing only suspect bills seems impractical to me—besides, if the counterfeit is that good, not even the government wants to know.

The pharmaceutical label verification is equally ludicrous. Remember, you'd have to authenticate each particular label against the database to verify it. This is nuts. You don't just rely on the label to authenticate lab-grade products—you rely on procedures that include traces, accountability, and a documented chain of custody. If we're talking aspirin, then the cost would be ludicrously out of proportion to the gain. If we're really worried, say if we're dealing with plutonium or something, then we're not going to rely on a silly label for authentication. How do we know the label isn't real, and the stuff in the container was stolen in transit, and something else substituted?

Could we imagine a case where it would make sense to use this scanning method to verify the authenticity of a document? Say we have a very, very, important document. We want to make sure it doesn't get swapped out for a fake document that looks just like it? Aside from the question of why it would matter, I'd have to ask: which is more vulnerable to malicious tampering—a paper document or a database record?

There might be applications to this technology, but if so, the article isn't telling us.

Re:This makes very little sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27140735)

Scan the banknote's paper and compute a fingerprint. Sign the fingerprint with your private key. Print a representation (e.g. a small 2D barcode) of the signed fingerprint on the banknote.

Voila! Now you can prove that any given banknote was printed by the owner of the private key.

Similarly you can use this to authenticate documents. The issue is not documents that look just the same, but documents (e.g. contracts) that have been subtly altered.

Re:This makes very little sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27141331)

Pedophiles tend to buy things with cash. If the government can track all cash purchases, it can identify pedophiles.

Re:This makes very little sense (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27148313)

When was the last time you tried to photocopy (Xerox) a $20 bill? :)

Even my cheap £40 scanner will not scan money. I thought it was clever when it automatically diplayed an anti-counterfeiting website after I tried. Any angle, even folded in half would display the page. Storing images of all paper money is probably why the drivers were so big...

Struggling to find a use for this.. (1)

Daemonic (575884) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138163)

I don't see how it helps crack down on forgery at all. It only enables you to identify a piece of paper you have previously had access to in order to scan its fibres. Then, if you encounter the same physical piece of paper again, you can repeat the scan (which takes several passes using the otherwise conventional over-the-counter scanner).

It DOES enable you to identify a leaked document, if it comes back into your hands, but I don't see why you'd opt for paper fibre scanning over some other sort of hidden watermark technology, or even (gasp) printing a unique id on the document.

Anyone wanting to circumvent this technology could do so with a photocopier and a cigarette lighter.

Batch vs. single a question (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138223)

The article does not clarify how exact they are. For example, there is a huge difference between only being able to identify that page A is still the original page A and being able to say that unknown page A came from Batch 12043, which according to our records was produced by X corporation, on Y Date, and sold to Z retailer on date W, using UPC code 90827452345 through 90827452356 Which they can do can dramatically alter the usefulness of the technology. I would be very surprised if they could do both.

Yeah, like fingerprint readers? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138647)

So, it will work fine... until somebody spills some coffee on the paper or something. Big deal.

Re:Yeah, like fingerprint readers? (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140435)

RTFA, It reads texture, not color. The alignment of the fibers isn't changed by cofee. If I dye my thumb purple, my thumbprint is still my thumbprint. Now if you spilled coffee on it, and firmly rubbed it firmly with your palm, it might change a bit, but even then, it could calulate the area that is common with the original. any two random sheets of paper, even produced from the same paper-mill would have a value pretty darn close to zero. Anything slightly higher than that suggests a match.

Workaround (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140555)

(Arrg, Slashdot seems to have eaten my first attempt at this comment)
A decent silicone mold of a sheet of paper would be able to pick up a sufficient level of detail as to reproduce something (like a resin cast) that could fool the scanner. A bit of experimentation could produce a substance with the physical properties of paper that could fool it...I'm thinking along the lines of a finer grained pulp with some stronger binding agents.

It would take some cleverness and home-brew spirit to work out the technique, but resolving it, and publishing it to the webz would allow counterfeiting to resume, granted with added costs.

Only in England... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27143437)

Only in England... Damn you big brother!!1

This idea is not new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27146369)

... see this paper by Sharma, Subramanian and Brewer from the 2008 ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Networked Systems for Developing Regions (NSDR):
http://cs.nyu.edu/%7Elakshmi/s2p2.pdf

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