This Week in Imaging: Fax – An Oldie-But-Goodie Provides Secure, Effective Messaging
While fax is considered an old technology (and considering that it was invented in 1843 by Alexander Bain, it certainly is), and is today usually offered as an option (not standard) for office copier/MFPs, two things this week prompted us to see how, in many instances, it’s still a very useful technology.
The first was an on-demand television series (The Night Manager). In this series, a U.K. intelligence officer faxes a U.S. intelligence counterpart a request for a U.S. military inspection of a truck convoy heading into Syria. Why not just email the request? Because in a pinch, fax is far, far more secure than email.
Why? Email messages are routed through Internet Service Providers, firewalls, and even virus checkers, and along their journeys, are stored, saved, and copied multiple times without encryption, and can be downloaded and read by third parties.
In contrast, with fax, faxing that uses the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is converted into base64 binary, sent through the PSTN, and then reassembled at the other end. To hack into the PSTN would require direct manual access to the telephone line, and even if a hacker hacked into it, the fax would just appear as just noise, and it wouldn’t be possible to read the fax message.
Second, it turns out that fax is, well, a pretty good pestering technique. According to an article in Wired magazine recently:
“FaxZero (an online fax service) … has a specific page for faxing U.S. representatives and senators. From February to October 2016, users of the site sent 11.4 faxes per day on average to elected officials through that page. From January 4th through January 26th, the average jumped to 140 faxes per day—not exactly a deluge, but a big leap for faxing.”
Some argue that receiving petitions via print-outs from a fax machine or copier/MFP are more effective in reaching a target than email messages – which can be deleted with just a click, or routed to email junk folders. Others argue, no, that faxes aren’t as effective as emails in reaching targets (personal visits are said to be the most effective). Still others point out that savvy fax users can have faxes electronically routed to folders, never to see the light of day. That all being said, there’s a reason why fax is still a preferred method for the transmission of confidential medical and government information, especially over secure phone lines.
Even though the technology has never waned in the fax-loving countries of Japan and Israel, fax seems to be back. That is at least in terms of reaching U.S. representatives, with the Web site fivethirtyeight.com saying that constituents are faxing U.S. representatives – at least in one period – at a rate of 300-times an hour.
So, whether it’s making sure communications aren’t intercepted, or just wishing to make a point, fax is still relevant and will be probably be here to stay for quite some time.
- Toshiba America Business Solutions Seeks to Reassure Customers, Partners Amid Toshiba Financial Difficulties – Read more here.
- Over 300 Million Users Now Using Mopria Mobile-Printing Solution – Read more here.
- New Solarity Connector Links Lexmark MFPs to Scanning, Indexing Software for Medical Records – Read more here.
- PrinterLogic Partnering with Plus Technologies for Server-Less Print Solution – Read more here.
- Revenues up for HP’s First Quarter, PC Revenues up 10 Percent – Read more here.
- HP CEO Dion Weisler: Strong Revenue Growth for MPS, Graphic Printers, Sprocket Mobile Printer in First Quarter – Read more here.
Commercial- and Production-Printing News
- Canon Rolls out Oce ProStream Inkjet Production Printer – Read more here.
- Konica Minolta Launches First ‘AccurioPress’ Color Production Printers – Read more here.
- New EFI Fiery EB-34 Digital Front End for Ricoh Pro 8200 Production Printers – Read more here.
- Samsung Leader Arrested on Bribery Charges – Read more here.
- Canon U.S.A. Names New VPs for Business Imaging Solutions Group – Read more here.
- Canon Acquiring Toshiba Medical Finance in Bid to Grow its Medical-Equipment Business – Read more here.