Canon's printer/photocopier blocks jobs based on keywords

Canon's new printer/scanner/fax devices can search jobs for keywords (say, the names of sensitive clients) and stop jobs if they contain them. I'm of mixed minds about this feature. On the one hand, I can see how it would go some ways to, say, preventing unscrupulous employees from printing out confidential docs and breaching the privacy of clients. On the other hand, the record is pretty clear on what happens with keyword blocking -- it's trivial to circumvent by dedicated bad guys, and it screws up the good guys (I remember AOL blocking "Phuc" as an alternate spelling for "Fuck" and rendering its Vietnamese chat rooms all but unusable; and by all accounts, it's pretty miserable trying to research breast cancer on a censored school network).

Ultimately, regular expressions are a poor substitute for trustworthy employees, minimal data gathering, and assiduous purging of old records.

The latest version of Uniflow has a keyword-based security system. Once configured by an administrator, the system can prevent a user from attempting to print, scan, copy or fax a document containing a prohibited keyword, such as a client name or project codename.

The server will email the administrator a PDF copy of the document in question if a user attempts to do so.

The system can optionally inform the user by email that their attempt has been blocked, but without identifying the keyword in question, maintaining the security of the system.

Uniflow 5's keyword recognition uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology licensed from Belgian OCR firm Iris, technology more commonly used for turning scanned documents into editable text.

Update: From the comments, Sabik adds: "Or, of course, you could set it up as part of industrial espionage so that when it detects a keyword, it e-mails the PDF out of the company." That's the stuff, right there -- forgotten feature in your Canon printer is activated by a rogue employee!

Prevents unauthorised document use.

(via /.)