Printers are grifter magnets, and the whole industry has been fighting a cold war with its customers since the first clever entrepreneur got the idea of refilling a cartridge and settling for mere astronomical profits, thus undercutting the manufacturers' truly galactic margins. This prompted an arms race in which the printer manufacturers devote ever more ingenuity to locking third-party refills, chips, and cartridges out of printers, despite the fact that no customer has ever asked for this.
In March 2016, HP inkjet owners received a "security update available" message on their printers' screens. When they tapped the button to install this update, their printers exhibited the normal security update behavior: a progress bar, a reboot, and then nothing. But this "security update" was actually a ticking bomb: a countdown timer that waited for five months before it went off in September 2016, activating a hidden feature that could detect and reject all third-party ink cartridges.
HP had designed this malicious update so that infected printers would be asymptomatic for months, until after parents had bought their back-to-school supplies. The delay ensured that warnings about the "security update" came too late for HP printer owners, who had by then installed the update themselves.
HP's latest gambit challenges the basis of private property itself: a bold scheme! With the HP Instant Ink program, printer owners no longer own their ink cartridges or the ink in them. Instead, HP's customers have to pay a recurring monthly fee based on the number of pages they anticipate printing from month to month; HP mails subscribers cartridges with enough ink to cover their anticipated needs. If you exceed your estimated page-count, HP bills you for every page (if you choose not to pay, your printer refuses to print, even if there's ink in the cartridges).
As Cory Doctorow explains, printer manufacturers -- led by the once-honorable (but no longer) HP -- are proving that when the product you bought contains software that can be updated, the "seller" still owns the product.
Don't buy a HP printer of course and get a laser printer (preferably older) instead.Ink-Stained Wretches: The Battle for the Soul of Digital Freedom Taking Place Inside Your Printer