"Last March, HP printer owners got an automated "security update." After running this update, HP customers would not have detected any outward changes their printers’ behavior. But inside, the affected HP printers were secretly counting down to September, when the printers suddenly began rejecting ink cartridges with third-party "security chips" — if you had opted to save 90% or more on your printer ink by buying unofficial cartridges, you were left in possession of a bunch of useless plastic and ink. In some cases, HP customers assumed their printers had packed in and threw them away.

After thousands of customers for third-party cartridges complained online, the story began to come into focus, and it became obvious that HP had deliberately installed time-delayed self-destruct code on its customers’ property to punish them for failing to order their affairs in the way that was most profitable to HP. I wrote an open letter to HP CEO Dion Weisler on behalf of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and more than 10,000 people signed on (the number is now 15,000).

(I’m a special consultant to EFF, which is a charitable nonprofit that stands up for privacy, security, fairness and free speech in technology)

The ensuing press-storm prompted HP to issue its nonpology, a misleading document whose absurdity I will now discuss, with some assistance from various former HP employees — including one 18-year HP printer division veteran — who contacted me on condition of anonymity in order to help me translate the document from HP-ese to English.

HP starts by saying that it only blocked cartridges with "cloned third-party chips" but that "third party cartridges with original HP security chips continue to function properly." HP’s "security chips" are on-board computers with many functions, including recording the ink-level in your cartridges. When a cartridge is empty, the chip registers this fact, and even if you refill the cartridge, it will not work, unless you find another a used chip from someone else’s cartridge and swap it in. In theory, you could also swap in one of HP’s original chips, but HP doesn’t sell those. So in practice, most refilled and third-party cartridges have "cloned chips" in them, from massive printer supply companies like Apex and Static Control, while others buy used chips of unknown quality from recyclers.

In reality, what HP is saying, "We block all third-party cartridges, and unless you know the trick, we also block original HP cartridges if you refill them.""

rest at https://goo.gl/aZXGQ9


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