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Xerox MFDs are changing number 6 to a number 8? Seriously?

August 7, 2013

I loathe to call an MFD a copier, because it does so much more than make a copy. BUT, at it’s core the essence of an MFD is a “Copier”! Which means by definition it makes a copy! Even when it Scans or Faxes an original the goal is for a copy to show up somewhere that is an accurate representation of the original. A copy means a duplicate – a replica –  a transcript – a reproduction. What a copy doesn’t mean is a modified image or document so that while it may appear at a casual glance to be the same it is in fact NOT an actual representation of the original, and hence NOT a copy.

Here are just a couple of URL links to the Xerox news story. You need to read this for yourself and pay particular attention to Xerox’s response to the issue.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/08/06/technology-xerox-copiers-change-text.html

http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/6/4594482/xerox-copiers-randomly-replacing-numbers-in-documents

What are the legal, or financial ramifications of the Xerox producing an interpretation of your original document? Legally “A “duplicate” or copy of a document, produced by methods ensuring accuracy and precision, is given the same status as an original unless there is a question as to its authenticity.” Does this now mean that since Xerox has admitted that sometimes there MFD changes a 6 to an 8 (and maybe other characters as well) that documents scanned on a Xerox MFD are not admissible in court?

Can you imagine the person who get’s arrested on a DUI charge because they blew a .08 on their breathalyzer test. And when they get to court their lawyer challenges the documents because all they have is copies made on a Xerox MFD and we can’t be sure if that was a .06 (= not guilty) or a .08 (=guilty).

What about financial institutions or accounting firms? What are the day to day ramifications of not being able to trust that your Xerox MFD is accurately reproducing your original documents. And once you or your firm knows about this issue do you become responsible if you take no action? I guess you could proof read every document that the Xerox scans.

What if you are building something, a high tech part or even an office building. What are the ramifications of the dimensions being off, so instead of an 6 foot opening for your windows your builder puts in an 8 foot opening. And then the 6 foot windows show up! Normally the manufacturer blames the builder, and the builder blames the manufacturer, maybe they should blame the Xerox copier?

There is “good news” from Xerox though! Xerox already advises customers of this possibility in its software, describing results from normal compression settings as “acceptable” That makes me feel soooooooo much better! Xerox says changing a 6 to an 8 in your business critical documents is acceptable! Did they actually say it with a straight face? Do you think its “acceptable”, because I don’t!

Yes, I rarely call an MFD a “copier” these days, but that is because we all know and expect it to be able to make accurate copies of original documents. And Purchasers have been saying for years now “ALL MFDs are the same, they All COPY, PRINT, SCAN, & FAX the same”. Well maybe MOST MFDs can do an accurate job on these 4 functions. If you can’t trust your Xerox MFD to make an accurate copy of your original document, that (IMHO) makes them unfit for business use. I was going to say they should just use them in Kindergarten but even in kindergarten you have to be able to tell a 6 from an 8. Maybe Xerox should take ownership, and fix the problem, there’s a thought!

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@yahoo.com

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8 comments

  1. I’m going to recommend a Xerox to our Payroll department!


  2. See the link below, it’s a bit more impartial than all of the other current blogs that are not quite reporting the facts as is, yes make your own mind up – however the issue occurs only when scanning to PDF using a combination of JBIG2 and various compression/ quality settings, giving a far smaller file size than equivalent Canon/ KM/ Ricoh kit.

    Judge, jury and executioner I am not – if JBIG2 is being utilised in other manufacturers’ devices then beware as it is the software algorithms causing this.

    http://industryanalysts.com/xerox-scanners-found-to-sometimes-alter-numbers/


  3. This issue just got worse for Xerox! Xerox initially said that this issue ONLY happens when their MFD was set to a lower resolution. They also said that they had a patch to fix it. Now according to the article in BusinessWeek both statements are not true.

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-08-12/xeroxs-scanner-problem-just-got-bigger

    This is a big deal! And Xerox needs to get this resolved ASAP to maintain some credibility. I have also heard Xerox and those who sell & support Xerox say that:

    1. This is a “Jbig” (compression) problem

    2. and a lot of other manufacturers use jbig compression.

    While both statement 1 and 2 may be true, when spoken together they are intended to mislead. What they are trying to imply is that other manufacturers have or may have this same issue. But let’s stick to the facts, Xerox has this issue. They have known about it for a while and indicated that it was “acceptable” behavior. There has been no evidence that any other manufacturer except Xerox is replacing numbers when they scan documents. If Xerox has information showing that other manufacturers do have this issue they should present it, or they should shut up and fix THEIR PROBLEM!


    • Vince, this is scary. I care for the industry and it’s clients, usability and security are big issues alone, but this is beyond reason!


  4. According to an article in “The Register” Xerox is going to need to do a full software upgrade to fix this on going issue.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/14/xerox_admits_theres_no_fix_yet_for_numberfudging_copiers/


  5. This issue is seen very rarely and it’s mostly FUD from competitors making it a problem. It is a JBIG2 issue and can be reset if the small number of machines that escaped Manufacturing weren’t caught before going out.

    Service call fix…Done. NO PROBLEM!


    • Would you really want that in a hospital or accounting department? I would rather not take the chance of X missing a software upgrade. The liability is too strong. If I was NECS I would be all over every account I Lost or was a X account to make sure they knew. Who would want to take the risk of being the one who knew and didn’t do anything about it. FUD? I know where you work. Bet you had to get the JBIG BS from someone else cause you dont know it. Sounds like Jim wants to sell it and then its your problem once you received your commission.


  6. Read about this, how can Xerox justify this lunacy? Human lives are at stake! Socially Responsible? Yeah right.



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