Commenter John said that he had scanned an Obama birth certificate copy of some sort on a Xerox machine, and it didn’t look anything like the President’s birth certificate from the White House. John was kind enough to provide the file as part of the ongoing conversation about Xerox and its role in creating the White House PDF, and as I promised, I’m hosting the file.
This article is primarily for the purpose facilitating the conversation between John and others about the Xerox machine and his experiment. However, I do have a few comments to start off with.
The scan was done on a Xerox Color 550 multi-function copier/printer/scanner/fax machine. I know this was the machine used because I used a special complex forensic document analysis tool, Notepad++, to examine it. Here’s the smoking tag:
<xmp:CreatorTool>Xerox Color 550</xmp:CreatorTool>
I agree with John that the scan doesn’t look much like the President’s birth certificate. For one thing, John’s file is huge (12.5 Mb) compared to the President’s file at a mere 377 KB. There’s a lot of compression in the President’s version compared to John’s.
The file doesn’t have layers, suggesting that MRC compression was not employed. The Xerox 550 Color does MRC compression, but that appears not to be the default setting. The 550/560 User Manual says that you have to check a box to invoke the MRC High Compression mode when scanning to email or to a file.
To apply MRC High Compression to PDF and XPS format files, select the MRC High Compression Enabled check box. Select the desired quality from the Quality drop-down list.
JBIG2 also seems to be an option (found in another manual):
If you select [PDF] and then select [Manual Select] in [Compression Method] under [File Format], you can select a compression method from [MH], [MMR], [JBIG2 Arithmetic Encoded], and [JBIG2 Huffman Encoded] under [Black & White Pages], and one from [JPEG] and [Flate] under [Grayscale/Color Pages]. Selecting [Flate] saves the image data with higher compression than [JPEG].
Visually, one notes very poor reproduction of the security paper background, but a second-generation scan of security paper shouldn’t look good anyhow. Now that real security paper is starting to circulate, we should get some more valid results.