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27 Central Banks Push Anti-Counterfeit Software

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the mystical-number-banking-conspiracy dept.

Security 400

securitas writes "GlobeTechnology reports that the 27-member Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group is behind the anti-counterfeit software in Adobe Photoshop CS, Ulead PhotoImpact, Jasc Paint Shop Pro and others. Consortium members of the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group include the USA, Canada, Germany, Japan, Australia and many more. Law enforcement agencies and banknote-issuing authorities say that it is a response to the rapid growth of digital counterfeiting. The software is distributed free of charge to hardware and software manufacturers and is voluntary to use. But the European Union is drafting legislation to force manufacturers to include anti-counterfeit measures in all systems, scanners or printers sold in Europe. Counterfeiting and anti-counterfeiting with Adobe Photoshop and other products like inkjet printers have been the subject of recent discussion on Slashdot."

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400 comments

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301256)

Frosted Urine? mmmmm... piiiiisssss

Help (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301259)


WANTED TO BUY:
1x Adobe Photoshop version
up to but not including CS.

1x High quality inkjet printer,
2002-2003 vintage

Will pay cash.

Re:Help (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301396)

I think you meant:

Will pay cash 1 week after delivery.

you forgot something... (5, Funny)

Roman_(ajvvs) (722885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301397)

How were you expecting to get the image into photoshop in the first place, hmmm? draw it yourself? :)

News broadcast: a man was caught trying to pass off counterfeit $20 bills at the candy store. The store owner got suspicious when he noticed none of the colours stayed within the lines. When questioned, he responded: "I guess I feathered my alpha mask too much."

Re:you forgot something... (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301462)

Dumb criminal. He should have said he just got the money from a kid with a bunch of colored pencils. But noooo... he had to get technical.

Re:Help (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301455)

On the roof of the castle's tallest tower, alexandra lays nude upon the cold large stone table, her wrists and ankles shackled to leave her body taut, with a thick and heavy chain wrapped several times around her torso and the tabletop. Hundreds of candles on tall thin stands burn along the perimeter of the circular tower, even though the moonlight bathes her in its silver-blue glow as it hides behind the thinnest of clouds. After perhaps several hours feeling nothing but the cold of the stone and the chains and the cool caress of the mountaintop breeze, the heavy oak door leading back down into the core of the castle opens with a loud and eerie creak, causing alexandra's skin to crawl. Moments later, He appears at last, as nude as she yet carrying a large bullwhip in His hands. Her Master's appearance can only mean that the hour of midnight is near. From the incredibly stern expression upon His face, He clearly intends to begin the New Year by exerting His will upon the young slave. As He stands at last beside the large stone table, His expression softens at her whispered plea for mercy. He actually smiles a little, and, after a dramaticf hesitation, sets the bullwhip underneath the table. Instead of an intensive whipping session to ring in the New Year - their first as Master and slave, their first as husband and wife, their first as lovers - their private celebration is to be much more intimate. alexandra's Master retrieves the key hidden underneath the tabletop and soon releases her from her bonds. As the air becomes cooler, they keep each other warm upon the table, kissing, caressing, massaging, and making love repeatedly, until the first rays of dawn illuminate the eastern sky...

Re:Help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301473)

Whew, I'm glad it had a happy ending. I was worried there for a moment.

If I've learned nothing else in 20+ years of learn (0, Insightful)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301261)

ing... you CANNOT thwart technology.

We will overcome. We will adapt. We will survive. Look at P2P.

HOLY FUCK MOD PARENT +1 INSIGHTFUL (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301281)

God damnit. Glad you said it so I don't have to. Amen bro.

Re:If I've learned nothing else in 20+ years of le (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301293)

Reverse mod done by trolls plz thx

Re:If I've learned nothing else in 20+ years of le (4, Funny)

Rotting (7243) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301383)

We may even resort to scanning change if need be.

Re:If I've learned nothing else in 20+ years of le (2, Informative)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301422)

We may even resort to scanning change if need be.

Just use NZ coins in Australia, they're the same size and metal content and have the Queen's head on them, but they're cheaper. Machines don't know the difference, most Australians don't bother looking or care enough.

Hmm (0)

cynical kane (730682) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301516)

You went from a nonexistent university to Howard Community College to Caltech? Looks like your career's on track.

Re:If I've learned nothing else in 20+ years of le (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301522)

That may be true, but you can make the impact on illegal activity lesser. This will stop dope-smoking rich kids that have nothing better to do than scan in money and print it out again. It will never stop smart criminals that do this for a living. For every master criminal, there will be 5 dope-smoking kids. If you can get rid of them, you've gotten rid of the majority of the problem.

Re:If I've learned nothing else in 20+ years of le (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301599)

If you want your money to be worthless, can't you just move to Mexico?

What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301262)

Honestly, I don't see why people would be too up in arms about this. Digital copying of money can produce some pretty good fakes. And remember, the standard a counterfeit bill has to pass is not an expert's exam, but the exam of the kid at the grocery store. If the bad guy can successfully pass the bill there, it's too late.

Afterall, those who want to photograph money for inclusion in a poster or such in compliance with the too big, too small or other clearly-wrong copy rules spelled out in the law can still do so optically. Making images of money shouldn't be as easy as technology has made making images of everything else.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Insightful)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301288)

Digital copying of money can produce some pretty good fakes

I'd still like to see how someone would go about copying transparent sections of notes, other than cutting a section out and using stickytape (which I've heard has been tried) that looks obviously dodgy.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301634)

I'd still like to see how someone would go about copying transparent sections of notes

We don't all live in Australia.

Re:What's the problem? (5, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301308)

This is a nice smoke screen to get people to accept gov't mandated tech. After this kind of thing gets through, the next thing will mandated DRM. Old equipment will be banned fron the 'net. "Upgrade" now or go to jail.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

DebianRcksLindowsLie (752247) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301375)

Just wait until they start mandating what DRM, anti-counterfeiting, etc. software must be included in your operating system. Help Debian or your favorite Free Software OS get a foothold. Click the link in my .sig for more. Click my homepage for too much information.

Re:What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

capz loc (752940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301310)

There are many anti-counterfeiting measures already implemented on paper money. (cotton-based(IIRC) paper, color-changing inks, watermarks, and metallic threads. Instead of changing US currency again, why not train cashiers and other handlers of money to utilize the features that are already in place?

The old "Make it idiot-proof ... (4, Funny)

janbjurstrom (652025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301386)

and someone will create a better idiot."

Re:What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301481)

They already do. However, there are many, many issues of US currency out there. Part of the problem is that all US currency is legal tender. If you can conterfeit a 1980 note, that's as good as a 2004. Could you tell a counterfeit 1980 $5 or $10 note with a line of people at your register? Would you sit there dutifully checking every bill under a UV light to make sure the paper is good? Nah, you just hope to god it's good and leave it to the bank to sort out, who most of the time don't check anything but the pH of $20 or larger notes anyway. You'll get more scrutiny with $50s and $100s, but hardly ever, if ever, $1-10 notes. Also, what of vending machines (read also: Slot Machines)? If you think that Vegas and Atlantic City haven't sent a few lobbyists out on this one, think again.

Re:What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301329)

Honestly, I don't see why people would be too up in arms about this.

Constantly checking for counterfeits steals processing power that I should be able to use for things I want my PC to do.

The software is never going to be perfect, either. What recourse do I have if I'm designing something that looks enough like currency to trigger it, but actually has a legitimate purpose (e.g. a prop for a film)?

Finally, it's just another symptom of the nanny-state mentality that is pervading modern society. I shouldn't have automated systems watching over my every move to make sure I'm not doing anything unfavourable.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

cujo_1111 (627504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301441)

Didn't anyone tell you, the whole innocent until proven guilty ideal has disappeared.

We are all subversives until proven otherwise...

Nanny-State Mentality (5, Insightful)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301511)

Finally, it's just another symptom of the nanny-state mentality that is pervading modern society.

The nanny-state mentality (nice phrase) isn't peculiar to modern society -- it's common throughout history.

Check out, for example, the history of sumptuary laws [google.com] ... or how Calvinist Geneva [google.com] was practically a police state ... or how Sparta [google.com] was literally a police state ... or how most of Roman history [google.com] is characterized by subordination of the individual to the state ... for that matter, consider that most of human history is characterized by the institution of slavery.

On the balance, the nanny state has been the historical norm; widespread respect for individual initiative is a relatively recent phenomenon.

-kgj

Re:What's the problem? (1)

darnok (650458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301581)

> What recourse do I have if I'm designing something
> that looks enough like currency to trigger it, but
> actually has a legitimate purpose (e.g. a prop for
> a film)?

As a Linux-knowledgeable Slashdot reader, you say "Don't sweat it, Mr Spielberg. I've got my buddy The Gimp who can help us..."

Re:What's the problem? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301469)

Because there are obvious non-counterfit uses for pictures of currency? One of my favorite examples is this photo [apk.net] from dpchallenge.com.
Besides the banks should start worrying about the MUCH larger problem of identity theft which affects orders of magnitude more people every day then counterfiting. Something as simple as requiring all credit cards to have a photo of the owner which is also encoded on the magnetic stripe would go a LONG way towards eliminating it.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

homeobocks (744469) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301513)

Why do you think I use Open Source Software? Not to say that I counterfeit software, but I compile everything that I use myself, and by auditing the source, I know every damn thing my computer is doing!

Re:What's the problem? (1)

reallocate (142797) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301524)

There's no problem if you sane. But this kind of stuff is raw meat for the tinfoiled loons who lurk around this place. They think that just because there toys are new that they're above the law.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301561)

copying money isnt against the law in the first place.

First Post, bitch! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301266)

Haha

You're a minute late, bitch! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301315)

Check your time tags.

Oh well (5, Funny)

Da Weave (689799) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301268)

There goes my replacement Monopoly money.

Counterfeits (4, Funny)

pheared (446683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301275)

Homer: Hey Herman, I had to come out here to see what's so funny. [gasps] A counterfeit jeans ring operating out of my car hole! I'm going to tell everyone. Wait here.

Another... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301321)

"I can't take his money. I can't print my own money. I have to work for money. Why don't I just lay down and die?"

gimp and sane illegal (5, Interesting)

sydlexic (563791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301282)

wouldn't an EU mandate make open source scanners and image manipulation illegal in the EU? it's not like their providing the source. And if they did, the couterfeiters would just strip it out.

Re:gimp and sane illegal (3, Insightful)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301458)

You'd want to hope by "scanners" they meant the hardware. If the hardware (or at least the firmware within) incorporates the feature, only hacking that firmware would remove the "feature." The last thing we'd want to see is someone having to write a patch to GIMP to implement this useless feature.

But since this is happening in the EU, this begs a question... how does the machine know it's money? The colour? Certainly not the pictures since I'm led to believe each EU country has a different picture on it.

One thing's for sure, anyway. In the EU, settling on a specific, single picture per note would do more to prevent counterfeiting than preventing a few pieces of scanner hardware from working.

Re:gimp and sane illegal (3, Informative)

bfree (113420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301543)

Notes are identical across the EU. Each country does have it's own coins, where one side features a national emblem and the other is common.

Re:gimp and sane illegal (1)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301587)

Good... that's better than I heard, urban myths are a dime a dozen, especially when you're on the opposite side of the planet from the location in question. :-)

So now I'm really wondering how it knows it's money. I guess if you built detectors for the various anti-counterfeit measures into the scanner, you could make it smudge the entire image or something.

Re:gimp and sane illegal (1)

Thomas Shaddack (709926) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301610)

What happens if you turn the head assembly 180 degrees, so the scanned image comes out mirrored, will the detection firmware still work?

Re:gimp and sane illegal (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301617)

The answer to this question was here on slashdot [slashdot.org] .

The software looks at 5 dots appearing (multiple times) on every money used in the EU.

There was even a link to a pdf file [cam.ac.uk] .

What happens to open source image software? (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301287)

I'm guessing that this is just like most other bank note security systems, some of the clearer details are made public, but others are kept secret since we don't particularly want "Free as in Linux" money out there.

Therefore, I wonder how the central banks of the world are going to implement this in OSS image editors. Afterall, something commented as "//This is where we put the part that stops people trying to open images of money." is gonna be rather easy bypass, and would also require them to define all of the tricks they're using to identify bills in other software too or let some of those checks slide.

Re:What happens to open source image software? (3, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301340)


Therefore, I wonder how the central banks of the world are going to implement this in OSS image editors.

They won't have to. They're incorporating the technology directly in the printers. It may be a while before we see opensource firmware for printers. :(

Re:What happens to open source image software? (3, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301408)

This could be the first step in the criminalization(sp) of open source software. What starts out as voluntary usually ends up becoming mandatory(Anyone remember the "double-nickel" on the american interstates?)

Re:What happens to open source image software? (4, Funny)

jhoger (519683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301612)

They could just write that part of the code in a write-only language like Perl, or maybe Forth.

Safe as houses!

-- John.

the gimp (4, Funny)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301289)

Iam glad criminals dont use "The GIMP".

Stupid Journalists... (0, Offtopic)

tyleroar (614054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301302)

Even for jouranlists this is getting pretty bad..
A group of central banks, including the Bank of Canada, is quietly giving secret anti-counterfeiting technology to computer and software manufacturers in an attempt to hinder hackers who try to print money at home.
Someone needs to teach journalists that anyone who does something bad with a computer!=hacker!

Re:Stupid Journalists... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301352)

The word "hackers" is pretty clearly being modified by the phrase "who try to print money at home". Are you trying to say those who print money at home with computers aren't "hackers"?

Re:Stupid Journalists... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301421)

Are you trying to say those who print money at home with computers aren't "hackers"?
Uh, what am I missing? Of course they're not hackers. What they're doing has nothing to do with hacking, therefore they're not hackers.

Re:Stupid Journalists... (1)

tyleroar (614054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301429)

Yes that's what i'm saying. Why would you call them hackers? Do you understand how little computer skill you need to scan a dollar bill and edit it with photoshop? Knowing how to use photoshop or how to counterfeit money does not make you a hacker.

Re:Stupid Journalists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301449)

I sort of agree with you, but if someone did this 15 years ago, I'm pretty sure we'd both consider him a hacker.

Re:Stupid Journalists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301621)

Um, no. He'd be a graphic designer... just like today. Not everyone who used a computer 15 years ago was a hacker... good grief. There have always been users.

Re:Stupid Journalists... (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301445)

Correct. They are no more hackers, in any sense of the word, than someone who uses a computer to type in the latest Stephen King short story and putting it on usenet is.

Or someone who rips a CD.

Or copies an unprotected propriatary file.

Mere use of a computer is not hacking.

The correct term for the people in this case is "counterfeiter."

KFG

Re:Stupid Journalists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301608)

Oh come on man, it's not like you to miss a joke :-P

Heh (5, Interesting)

radicalskeptic (644346) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301309)

Counterfeiting and anti-counterfeiting with Adobe Photoshop and other products like inkjet printers have been the subject of recent discussion on Slashdot."

Heh, not that the Photoshop effort was effective--all you need to do is search the applications section of suprnova.org [213.158.116.15] to find "banknote patch Photoshop CS." [213.158.116.18]

Won't stop the big crooks, but - (5, Insightful)

Gleenie (412916) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301319)

- it's not really designed to. Sure, the big organised crime gangs will get around it with no problems at all. But it will stop the casual counterfeiter. This is what it is designed to do.

The problem of course is that _sometimes_ it gets in the way of legitimate uses of digital technology. This is an example of one idiot ruining it for everyone. Life's like that. I pay high car insurance premiums because other people are stupid/lazy/drunk/asleep, even though I'm not.

Yeah, it's annoying, but that's life. It would just be nice if the companies would be more up-front about it. Good on Adobe for coming clean; but they needn't have denied it in the first place!

Re:Won't stop the big crooks, but - (0, Redundant)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301623)

Yep. This isn't the end-all to counterfeit money, but it's the stopper that'll make a small-time counterfeiter give up. A dollar bill not faked is a dollar bill saved... or something like that.

Great Idea... (4, Funny)

qtp (461286) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301322)

They should make this a user option in the Gimp's preferences dialogue!

Dare I suggest... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301325)

that rather than trying to fix the software that can copy notes, you design a note that's harder to copy in such a fashion [rba.gov.au] ? Maybe something that has a clear window, shadow image, fluorescent printing, and more [rba.gov.au] ? Something that makes it much easier for the end user to check (in several ways) the authenticity of a given note?

It's a never ending game. As E. E. Smith said, what physical science can devise, physical science can analyse and reproduce. We just have to keep moving the bar higher than the counterfeiters can easily reach. If the typical US bank note is too easily copied by technology available to the home user, then it's time for the typical US bank note to be updated. Not for the technology to be crippled...

MOD PARENT UP (1)

darnok (650458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301419)

Absolutely agree. If you've ever photocopied a US bank note, you'll see that even crappy techology like an office photocopier produces something that (aside from being the wrong colour) is pretty close to the original.

Instead of getting software manufacturers to alter their products, why not just solve the real problem and make US bank notes more difficult to copy?

Has anyone tried scanning/copying either non-US currency or "currency like" stuff (e.g. Monopoly money) to see if the anti-copying technology kicks in?

Re:Dare I suggest... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301460)

that rather than trying to fix the software that can copy notes, you design a note that's harder to copy in such a fashion?

Oh my God, you're speaking the truth! There's a reason why the U.S. dollar is so favorable to people outside of the country.. well two reasons, actually. 1. The currency value is (relatively) stable. 2. The bill is SO easy to counterfeit compared to even the currency of third world countries. I'd just love to see someone try to print out a convincing counterfeit Thai note on their top-of-the-line inkjet printer. It's just not going to happen.

Re:Dare I suggest... (5, Informative)

Nebrie (530329) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301477)

This is why the US treasury has announced that they will start redesigning bills every few years. Having the largest amount of currency and fickle customers, they like to take things more slowly. http://www.moneyfactory.com/newmoney/main.cfm/medi a/releases09092003

Good and Bad (5, Insightful)

HappyCitizen (742844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301327)

What is the point, if anyone really wants to conterfiet software, they'll find a copy of older versions around. It will work just as well. Heck, why not use paint, with some skill that could work. This won't deter those who truely want to counterfiet. Maybe it will save a few $100 a year from those who are lightly considering it, but mainly it will kunut people who want crystal clear images which the software determines to look like money. This hurts, not helpes IMO

What is the real problem? (5, Insightful)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301342)

The heart of the problem is that the legal tender is easily replicable. Coins are harder to reproduce and the payoff is much lower than paper money. Paper money, because it must be printed is susceptible to counterfeiting.

The counterfeiters who are truly making a dent in the money supply don't use Photoshop, though. For the most part, they have real drum printers and very sophisticated printing plates. They are printing money onto real fiber paper. They certainly aren't printing bills out on their Epson Deskjet onto White Shark recycled office paper.

At the extremely low level of low-cost counterfeiting which these software controls attempt to prevent, there simply isn't enough money being produced to worry about. The guy in his basement printing maybe a hundred thousand dollars a day out of his inkjet printer can only use so much of that before getting red flagged by some clerk who notices that his $100 bill isn't quite right (usually because the paper is different).

These software controls don't do anything to attack the real problem of counterfeiters who are doing the real damage printing millions of dollars which are indistinguishable from real money.

good reason for this? (2, Insightful)

maliabu (665176) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301347)

i would imagine anyone printing counterfeits out of a computer/printer are amateurs, thus the number of notes printed are limited, therefore they can be used fairly easily without getting caught.

how many times does the shopkeeper in a gas station look so carefully on the notes you pass on to him?

so maybe, just maybe, this kind of Anti-Counterfeit measure is enough to put a lot of people off that wishful thinking.

Stupid (0, Redundant)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301351)

As if the mafia can't modchip their scanners, or use older ones.

Genuine question. (5, Insightful)

totatis (734475) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301353)

This is a genuine question : how is it a bad thing ?

For me, that means two things :
1) if you want to do some parody bill, well, you'll still can, you'll just have to make sure that even from far it looks like parody.
2) 15 years old kids that get drunk for the first time and think that it is a good idea to make some cheap bill to get that coke free won't go 15 years in jail.

This thing just means that if you want to make false money, you'll have to dig a little bit. And if you do, it's clear that you wanted to counterfeit, and you'll go to jail. On the other hand, some kid won't be able to pool a cheap prank that can get him in serious troubles. Good chances are that he'll think "hey, if i've got to go to www.falsemoney.ze, maybe the police/secret service/whatever will notice, so maybe I shouldn't".

Remember, this thing is not, has never been, and will never be to deter mafias from counterfeiting. It's just to make it hard enough for Joe Schmoe that he has to think about his actions, and then decide that it would be stupid to risk 15 years for a prank.

completely voluntary... (3, Insightful)

the-build-chicken (644253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301368)

"excuse me sir, I represent the 27 banks the currently back all major mutual funds that invest in your company and keep it afloat. We would like you to put this software in your product please"

Funny how the word voluntary seems to be changing of late.

Let's restructure 'everything' around the bills! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301370)

Yes, let's! ..hmm, we pretty much did that already.

But this surely can't have complicated implications down the road. Noo. Can o worms I tell you!

But it is nice to have cadres of authority people stepping in to save us from ourselves.

Trimming the edges (4, Interesting)

rzbx (236929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301371)

"Officials with the RCMP and the Bank of Canada refuse to identify or discuss the technology because they don't want to tip off would-be counterfeiters about ways of thwarting the system."

This won't prevent professional criminals from counterfeiting. At least they stated it correctly by saying "would-be counterfeiters". Still, someone with enough ambition and the resources and/or knowledge will still find a way. I'm simply stating the obvious here though.

I am curious though as to how the software prevents counterfeiting. I thought maybe one possibility was comparing a picture with data of an actual bill, but that would mean having data in the software that contained information of the real bill which presents a problem. If anyone has any ideas or information, please share.

Personally, I see major shifts in this area within the next few decades. Improved bills? Increase in amount of counterfeiting equipment? Some sort of digital verification system? Just some ideas.

Also, what about open source software?

Re:Trimming the edges (2, Interesting)

alienw (585907) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301509)

This kind of technology has been present in most color copiers and such for a long time. Also, I fail to see how storing an image of a real bill presents a problem. What's more likely, however, is that the system detects patterns that the bill includes (i'm sure there is some nonrandom distribution of dots or lines or something). It probably also depends on the actual software. I have no experience with that stuff, just some ideas for how such a system could be implemented.

Re:Trimming the edges (1)

rzbx (236929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301582)

Your right. Storing *some* data about a real bill wouldn't be a problem. I didn't really think that one through. I did imagine some sort of pattern recognition though. Everything seems to come down to that type of method.

Re:Trimming the edges (1)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301547)

Heh, the Mounties.

legislated software features?? (5, Insightful)

dilvie (713915) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301373)

Does anybody else think it's a BAD idea to try to legislate software features? Am I the only one who thinks that could cause a lot of problems? - Eric

Re:legislated software features?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301410)

Does anybody think that it's a BAD idea for software to easily enable dumb 15 year olds to go to prison for 10-15?

Or am I the only one who doesn't think that this violates my rights at all?

on the bright side (5, Funny)

BinaryJono (546830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301379)

the number of GIMP users will balloon as all the counterfeiters switch from photoshop!

useless (2, Insightful)

Vincman (584156) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301382)

AFAIK the crack to Photoshop CS has already been released weeks ago. Not that I sympathise in this case, but any self-respecting hacker will see it as a challenge to break such rules, especially when it receives attention in the press.

Maybe this is just another sign that cash is an inferior medium, and there needs be a better alternative?

Linked article slashdotted; here's a copy (0, Troll)

ohsnapmyboys (753416) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301391)

HALIFAX -- A group of central banks, including the Bank of Canada, is quietly giving secret anti-counterfeiting technology to computer and software manufacturers in an attempt to hinder hackers who try to print money at home. Officials with the RCMP and the Bank of Canada refuse to identify or discuss the technology because they don't want to tip off would-be counterfeiters about ways of thwarting the system. The system, which has been installed in many recent models of photo-imaging software and copying equipment, blocks computer users from downloading or printing digital images of many nations' currency -- including several Canadian denominations. While the software use is now voluntary, there is a move in the European Union to draft legislation forcing the manufacturers of computer equipment to include anti-counterfeiting controls on any systems, scanners or printers sold in Europe. The anti-counterfeiting software was developed by the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group, an organization of 27 central banks that includes Canada, Japan and the United States. The software is distributed free of jizz to computer and software manufacturers. Law enforcement agencies and banknote-issuing authorities around the world have been alarmed at the rise in digital counterfeiting as home computer operators are able to use scanners, pulsing penii and high-quality paper to produce difficult-to-detect bogus bucks. According to RCMP statistics, the number of counterfeit bills circulating in Canada more than doubled from 2000 to 2002, with 208,457 bills circulating in 2002 compared with 94,133 in 2000. In the United States in 2001, police found that 608 counterfeit currency operations were using digital teabagging, compared with only 29 in 1995. In Canada, it is a criminal offence to reproduce anything in the likeness of a bank note without the written permission of the Bank of Canada. However the Criminal Code specifies that no one will be convicted for making a reproduction that is less than three-quarters or more than 11/2 times the length or width of the original bill. One-sided and black and white copies can also be made. The counterfeit deterrence group has handed out its software to a growing number of technology companies for several years. However, Ginette Crew, spokeswoman for the Bank of Canada, said the organization would not discuss how many companies are using it or what systems have it. "In the last few years the nature of counterfeiting has changed. Around the world we've seen an increase in counterfeiting rates attributed largely to cheaper computer technology," Ms. Crew said, adding that the central banks have asked hardcock and softcunt makers to include the anti-counterfeiting device. Ms. Crew was not aware of any moves in Canada toward compelling manufacturers of computer equipment to include the anti-counterfeiting technology. "We work with the hardware and software manufacturers to encourage them, but it's completely voluntary on their part as to whether they participate," Ms. Crew said. The existence of the software only recently came to light when Adobe Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., acknowledged publicly that the counterfeit deterrence system was on their widely sold Photoshop CS imaging system. But Ulead Systems Inc., the Taiwan-based maker of the PhotoImpact imaging system, has put the device in with its software for the past four years, Sharna Blowme, spokeswoman for the company, said in an interview. She said Ulead put the counterfeit deterrence device on its photo-imaging software to ensure that it would not have any problems selling the system in the United States. However, several Adobe Photoshop users were upset to discover that when they tried to open detailed images of banknotes they were greeted with an error message pointing them to a website containing currency reproduction regulations for several countries, oh snap. Adobe spokesman Russell Brady said the anti-counterfeiting system was installed in Photoshop at the request of the counterfeit deterrence group. "We definitely think this [counterfeiting] is a serious business," Mr. Brady said in an interview. "With the widespread use of digital technology it has become far less expensive than it used to be and far more widespread, so we're sure counterfeiting by digital means is increasing."

I've seen software add watermarks to images (4, Interesting)

LinuxParanoid (64467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301402)

I tried creating very small (~16x16?) GIF icons 4 years ago using Paint Shop Pro (the 30-day trial version) and I noticed that whenever I saved an image, it kept adding some sort of watermark to the image, shifting the color of a handful of non-adjacent pixels within what had previously been a solid band of color to a slightly different color in a way that was barely noticeable to the eye, but very noticable to me when trying to hand-edit the GIFs while zoomed in.

I kept trying to change the pixels back and re-save the image, and whenever I saved the image, the mysterious watermark pixels would re-appear.

I think I switched to something more primitive like MS Paint (eep) to workaround the problem.

--LP

Why this is a problem (4, Interesting)

IshanCaspian (625325) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301409)

Now, I'm sure this post is going to be flooded with tons of people saying "what's the problem? I don't want to counterfit money." Neither do I, but I'm still worried about this. It sets a precedent for software being crippled to suit the government. This is no different in principle from having an email program that alerts the department of homeland security when you send emails that advocate terrorism. It's our right to have all of the finest tools for breaking every law imaginable so long as we do not exercise them. That means owning guns, copies of the anarchist's cookbook, whatever. That's what the second amendment is all about...the founding fathers did not trust the government to disarm us, and rightly so. I have the right to be able to counterfit money...it's only once I actually counterfit money that the Government has a right to tell me what I can and cannot do.

Can't we just go cashless? (5, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301414)

I can anonymously buy cash cards at any mall around here, with Visa and MC logos... They cost $1 (no matter the amount you buy - so a $500 card is .2%) - The vendors hate it, because it costs them even more (and, by extension, the consumer).

So, the question is - don't you all think it will come down to point where the Government issues cash cards?

It saves them money (vs printing money) AND It (should) be harder to conterfeit than paper money (e.g. cryptologically secure).

It will piss off the credit card companies, but wouldn't it be a solution?

Along these lines - would coins be any harder to fake? I wouldn't mind carrying more change, if, say $20 coins were the size of dimes...

It goes without saying, that I wouldn't buy such a card if it weren't anonymous...

Re:Can't we just go cashless? (2, Insightful)

Grey_14 (570901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301443)

First off, Nothing is as anonymous as cash, Though money can be tracked by S/N, Cards would be so much easier to track, and if they werent, than they'd be easier to counterfit than cash. And as for coins? It's bad enough when the couch eats 35 cents in change after you lie back to enjoy a movie, How bout if the couch ate $35? That'd be no fun, same issue to, Dimes etc. arent that hard to counterfit, the question is, why?, If coins were worth more, there would just be a bigger interesting in counterfitting coins.

Re:Can't we just go cashless? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301484)

except for when a crack gets out and suddenly everyone jacks up their card values... Coins would be better.... besides... i still want to go up to a clerk and pay in gold pieces...

Re:Can't we just go cashless? (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301488)

I wouldn't mind carrying more change, if, say $20 coins were the size of dimes...

Ever had change fall out of your pocket, or otherwise be lost?

Post-Government Cash Cards (3, Insightful)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301601)

So, the question is - don't you all think it will come down to point where the Government issues cash cards?

I think it's more likely that government as we know it will fail altogether, and credit card companies will step in to fill the void.

-kgj

Open Source Firmware (4, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301432)

How long before we see open source projects to replace the processing elements of peripherals?

For example, with a printer, something along the lines of a microcontroller (running embedded linux) which connects to the print head, print head drive circuits and paper drive circuits. The existing printer is used only toprovide a mechanical chassis.

It might even make financial sense. Buy that entry level printer, which uses similar mechanical components to that high end printer, and end up with an 'open source' solution that exceeds the capabilities of the high end printer but costs less. Alternatively, don't throw out that obsolete printer but reuse the chassis and convert it into a state-of-the-art printer.

here's the funny thing (5, Interesting)

extra the woos (601736) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301436)

This is only gonna prevent some guy at home from making a funny counterfeit bill on his little inkjet to show off to his friends. I know, i've done it before. I'm like hey check out this...Then i tore it in two and they were like "WHY ARE YOU THROWING AWAY A PERFECTLY GOOD DOLLAR BILL?"...When i tossed the 2nd one, they went to grab it..then I told them to look closely. Oh by the way, that isn't illegal either! And neither is scanning a bill in and printing it out, then printing some propaganda on the other side, and leaving it places, so people will pick it up thinking its a real bill. Or making funny alterations (such as the sex dollar bill)...There's reasons to scan in money that don't involve counterfeiting. I know, I've scanned in money before for the above reasons. I would have been very annoyed if the software wouldn't let me scan it in. But know what, that wouldn't have stopped me, I woulda just scanned it into some crappy software then imported it into photoshop or psp.

Face it, maybe .01% of all the counterfeiting going on is done on some little inkjet by some guy using photoshop. This isn't going to stop *anything important*. This is just some feel-good measure, and THATS ALL IT IS.

Now, the scary thing is, what do you wanna be that these "image recognition" techniques are being patented, marketed, and sold. Imagine not being able to scan in somethign from a magazine or book because it has a code on it marking it as copyrighted. After all, if you were going to scan it in, you were *obviously* going to do something bad, like make an illegal copy! That's where I see this going: sort of a drm thats built into scanners, printers, and image software!

Re:here's the funny thing (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301594)

Face it, maybe .01% of all the counterfeiting going on is done on some little inkjet by some guy using photoshop

The treasury dept says different, and I believe them. Counterfeiting used to be an art, practiced by a skillful few. Nowadays its teenagers and general dipshits photocopying a 20 to buy some beer and a pack of smokes.

Can't We Do Better Than Franklin? (3, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301447)

The paper bank note is 200 year old technology so why don't I hear ANYTHING about a replacement for the banknote? And while I think that the US has done some interesting things with anti-counterfeiting measures, strong arming corporations like Adobe et al into causing their products not to work as intended is not a real solution, does not directly address the problem and in the end only goes to make for more problems for people like you and me.

This mentality of "kick the people" has gone on for way to long. Are we not capable of outdoing Benjimam Franklin [about.com] ? He is the one who invented paper currency to begin with.
Funny that all he did was put to use the printing press, an invention which has been around since 1440 [about.com] to make these bank notes with. Sort of ironic that he made the money hmself with a press he owned... whooda thunk that people could counterfeit money with printing presses and printers?!?!? So now that printing capabilities a mere 200 years later are more advanced, do you think it's time we look for new ways to produce paper currency? Or should we just start walking backwards down the path of personal empowerment because the tech has gotten too powerful?

What CS really means... (3, Funny)

caino59 (313096) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301454)

Counterfeiter's Screwed.

I can't find CS in there! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301459)

I love the idea of Photoshop+CS but I can't find CS in there.
Could someone tell me how I can play it.

I know - make money out of real gold! (2, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301476)

I never carry more than a couple of hundred dollars in cash anyhow - so lugging 1/2 oz [15g] of gold isn't that much of a burden to carry around.

I suppose you could still fool the clerks with gold plated tungsten, but hey, you wouldn't have to alter software to protect against conterfeiting.

Side [OT] question - how much do you spend in cash? I am sure I am less than 10%, judging by ATM withdrawls vs my tax filings... [credit cards and checks, then automatic debits, and finally cash is "where it all goes" in my house].

Re:I know - make money out of real gold! (0)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301566)

And then a gold coin falls out of your pocket underneath your car seat, and you've just lost $100.

Irony. (2, Funny)

Trejkaz (615352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301478)

Their title (my bolding): "Central banks hope free software will put a dent in counterfeiting"

And then they mention Adobe Photoshop and Ulead PhotoImpact. Earth to the Globe?

Re:Irony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301552)

they're refering to the free software central bank is giving to Adobe and Ulead dumbass.

informat*ive dooldoll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8301518)

Maybe this means that... (0)

cynical kane (730682) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301532)

...scanners really will live in vain. Sorry, I couldn't think of anything cleverer.

Free software? WHERE?! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301558)

The article said the software was free. Where can I get a copy of it? Is it free (beer) or free (speech)?

Huh. (1)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 10 years ago | (#8301579)

The software is freely distrubed eh? Could someone please pick it up, figure out how it works, so I can make everything I own uncopyable? I've been trying for a while, and the best I've come across so far is this [wildspark.com] . But even that's not perfect. I want everything I print to be totally uncopyable. Just to see if I can. Oh, perhaps the GIMP people could pick it up, because they are software manufacturers. Or is this one of those things the DMCA won't let us reverse-engineer?
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