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Top marks has to go to Deutsche Post for their new “E-Postbrief“. Essentially you get an address which “..consists of a first name and a surname and the ending” and if there’s an address collision… wait for it…  “a number behind the surname prevents confusion when two people have the same surname. Anyone who registers quickly can secure the number he wishes”.. right so exactly like every free email account then. But don’t worry as getting an account requires the use of the German national ID or passport, which is fair enough, at least then you’ll know the Ulli.Winkler347 is in fact the right one, assuming his identity hasn’t been stolen that is (although Germany only suffers 3% apparently).

All this has lead to the rather dubious claim that “anonymous e-mails, spam or address theft are impossible with the E-Postbrief”. Interesting as I just got a bunch of junk in the mail today, I know all of the companies involved as it’s clearly their advertising departments who sent it to me. Just because I know who sent it doesn’t make it any less annoying! It seems the big push is to have a legally binding document that can be sent electronically, which is a valid idea I suppose although in many countries email is legally binding. The big issue here is they are charging 55 cent per message, you have the option to have it delivered by hand and printed at the other end. They save a lot of money not hauling paper about (good for the environment), yet still charge you close on the price of a first class stamp.

Clearly no one in Deutsche Post has heard of GPG/PGP… no? Oh well. If it’s printed out at the far end what stops someone reading the printout from within the Post system?

I guess the last thought we should leave is “whether our letter is in physical or digital format, it is based on a high-quality service from one single source. And it’s very attractively priced as well.” A vital service from a single vendor……what could go wrong?