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Securing Off-line E-Journal printing

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014516D
Original Publication Date: 1999-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19

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Bob Yoder


Disclosed is a method for securing the printing of the electronic journal in a point of sale (POS) printer. Once data is written into the journal, it is desired to have the method to retrieve the data by printing. This is typically initiated by a key sequence when the printer in offline. However, due to the length of time it takes to print the journal and the desire to keep the information contained in the journal private a method of securing how the printing is initiated is required. This invention utilizes only two paper feed buttons which is available on most POS printers and nonvolatile memory that is part of the electronics within the printer. During the initial set up of the printer, a command is sent to the printer that initializes a location in nonvolatile memory with the combination for that particular printer. When it is desired to print the journal, pressing both buttons for a period of time (say five seconds) will put the printer in self test mode. At this point of the cycle the two paper feed buttons now become an input device for entering a binary sequence of "1s" and "0s". One button will cause a binary "1" to be entered while the second button will cause a binary "0" to be entered. The printer will compare the key sequence that is entered with the "combination" held in nonvolatile memory. If the sequence is correct, the journal will begin to print. If the sequence in incorrect, the printer will exit self test mode. If a new combination is desired, a command can be sent to the printer form the host with the new value. This method of initiating the printing of the journal is superior over current techniques for performing this function in that it has the following advantages: No matter how complicated a sequence is to enter, once the sequence learned, it is no longer secure. This method allows the sequence to change as often as desired. The sequence can be made unique at the printer/store/chain level.