At that point, experts began taking a closer look at the document, now publicly available on the web. They discovered something else of interest: yellow dots in a roughly rectangular pattern repeated throughout the page. They were barely visible to the naked eye, but formed a coded design. After some quick analysis, they seemed to reveal the exact date and time that the pages in question were printed: 06:20 on 9 May, 2017 – at least, this is likely to be the time on the printer’s internal clock at that moment. The dots also encode a serial number for the printer.This would seem to explain why my printer consumes so much color ink when I print almost exclusively in black and white.
These “microdots” are well known to security researchers and civil liberties campaigners. Many colour printers add them to documents without people ever knowing they’re there.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
From Why printers add secret tracking dots by Chris Baraniuk.