Monday, February 23, 2015

The Social Impact of the Photocopier

"How the Photocopier Changed the Way We Worked -- and Played".

Some excerpts:
Employees would sneak their own personal items on the machine, copying their IRS returns, party invitations, recipes. Chain letters began demanding participants not only forward the letter, but send out 20 copies—because, hey, now anyone could! And people quickly realized they could make paper replicas of physical objects, placing their hands—or, whipping down their pants, their rear ends—on the copier glass. This copying of objects could be put to curiously practical purposes. Instead of describing the physical contents of a perp’s pockets when jailing him, police would just dump them onto the 914’s glass and hit copy...
 
Secrets were harder to keep, documents easier to leak. Daniel Ellsberg used a copier to reproduce the Pentagon Papers (even having his children help make the replicas at a friend’s office). Fearful of the copier’s power, the Soviet Union tightly controlled access to the machines...