Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tech Column: A Copy Machine That Has "Washington, DC" Written All Over It

Technology doesn't take sides when it comes to being a force for good or evil. Take Facebook, for example: Facebook unites friends and provides unlimited entertainment. But it also takes your personal information, and in some unscrutable fashion, makes it available to others. Or smartphones: They can be used to locate you (sometimes even if you don't want to be located), and because they all have cameras, smartphones can be used to video the police in action, helping to keep the police honest. Email has been dual natured almost ever since it was invented: This great tool for communicating produced its first spam in 1978.

Updated copier and printer software from Canon, dubbed Uniflow 5, destined to be a hit in Washington, DC, suffers from the same kind of duality: It's a great idea and a dangerous one, too. This updated software (part of a sophisticated copy/fax/scan/computer hardware-software system used to track documents) will have a new capability: It will be able to block copying, faxing, printing, or scanning documents that contain particular keywords.

What used to seem like magic --a computer than can "read" documents-- is now commonplace. Consumer software such as Evernote can read and index keywords in documents.

Uniflow 5 is integrated into a company or organization's computer network, so it can prevent documents from being printed from a computer, too. Uniflow 5 is a powerful tool when it comes to preventing sensitive documents from being leaked. It's also a tool that can be used to thwart whistle blowers from copying documents. Canon's new software goes one step further: It can also send an alert to somebody in the company or organization that an attempt has been made to print or copy a particular document.

As I said, this is destined to be a hit in Washington, DC.

No comments:

Post a Comment