Internet

Postal Service in Germany to Deliver Mail…Electronically!

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Was zum Teufel! Electronic mail?

Wouldn't it be great if you could instantly send mail through a series of tubes? If there was some way to take an electronic version of a piece of mail and set it to arrive instantly in a virtual mailbox that was unique to your recipient? If only someone could figure out a way to send this…electronic mail.

Prayers answered! The postal carrier Deutsche Post has leapt boldly into the late 20th century, billing a new way for Germans to receive mail electronically, at the costs of a mere 75 cents per letter! What a bargain!

If the intended recipient doesn't have a special Deutsche Post mailbox, that fee—identical to the current cost of a snall mail stamp—covers the printing of the electronic mail and delivery in an envelope.

The big selling point is that these accounts will somehow be more secure than ordinary email—"equal to the security of paper mail":

"I believe, there are now many, many people, who say, 'I lock my house, I lock my car. I also want to be able to communicate securely,' " says the company's Mr. Gerdes.

I'm not an expert of security of digital communications, and I know that current email products have flaws: But the implication that sending an email from a Gmail or Yahoo! account is somehow equivalent to leaving your house unlocked is rather misleading, and the notion that a postal service will be able to provide security so much better than what Google offers that it would be worth paying 75 cents—and using a closed network—is laughable. The company boasts that they have invited hackers to find weaknesses in their system, but my understanding is that this is fairly common practice.

Of course, the security will also come from the fact that getting an account will be inconvenient:

To sign up, customers must visit a post office and present an official ID, one of the security features that are among the service's selling points.

As a friend (who is both a Jew and serial Hit&Run tipster) succinctly puts it: "This makes me less afraid of the Germans. They are clearly no longer a formidable enemy."

NEXT: No, It's Not a Messaging Problem

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    1. Top Secret-grade, effectively unbreakable encryption is available for free to anyone who searches the internet for fifteen seconds.

  1. You could save 75 cents just by going to https://www.gmail.com instead of http://www.gmail.com

    1. In the settings there is an option to automatically forward you to HTTPS when you go to http://www.gmail.com/.

      It’s now the default.

  2. They started experimenting with this in Finland back in April.

  3. Security at 75 cents a pop? What do they do, deliver the e-mail by Brinks truck?

    1. Silly. It’s an electronic Brinks truck.

      1. With robot guards? Well, why didn’t they say so! I’d pay a premium to have my e-mails delivered by robot guards.

        1. That’s because you got that holotape from Ralph, isn’t it?

          1. A Fallout reference? Don’t remind me that I don’t own Fallout: New Vegas Especially now that I’ve finished Red Dead Redemption.

  4. the implication that sending an email from a Gmail or Yahoo! account is somehow equivalent to leaving your house unlocked is rather misleading

    Yeah. It’s more like having your house under constant video surveillance by the bank that holds the mortgage. And the bank is real pally with the cops.

    Passing your mail through the German government is probably less stupid.

    1. Cents, have you always been this paranoid? Or just lately?

      Somehow I feel like the great dilution effect of literally hundred of electronic emails sent everyday will keep me safe. Who has the time a hundred emails. I think I’m safe.

      1. I once had a cat named pancakes. We called him that because he was an idiot and kept getting stepped on.

    2. germany privatized mail service years ago

      1. hahaha, good one. Just like Japan privatized their postal service too, huh?

  5. Cellular Mail?

  6. The postal carrier Deutsche Post has leapt boldly into the late 20th century, billing a new way for Germans to receive mail electronically, at the costs of a mere 75 cents per letter! What a bargain!

    Wait until the German government makes it mandatory for all e-mail providers to charge their German customers no less than 0.75 per e-mail, so the German Post Office can compete . . .

    You know, externalities!!! Oh, and roads! Government makes roads!!!

    1. Deutsche Post is a public corporation.

      1. Right, and governments do not give Big Corporations any breaks as a matter of routine…

  7. Only a government entity would think this was a good idea.

  8. This makes me less afraid of the Germans. They are clearly no longer a formidable enemy.

    Can we make this person the thread winner?

    1. There are Jewish H&R posters!?

      1. Now who’s the stupid one!

        1. I think you should adopt a third personality for situations when two won’t do. May I suggest “cr?pes?

          1. Sadly, I didn’t invent pancakes. If I did then maybe I would know how to stop it. I’m not trying to cause trouble, but pancakes, my nemesis always seems to find me.

            1. Au contraire, my nemesis! I am the true villain in the epic tragedy that is about to be your pathetic life!

              Vous avez le cervau d’un sandwich au fromage!

              1. Ha! You are inferior to me in all respects! I, French Toast, demand an audience!

                1. you aren’t real…you aren’t real..you aren’t real. GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

                  1. Es kann nur einen wahren arischen gebratene Nahrungsmittel sein! Sie werden alle erschossen!

                    1. There can be only one true Aryan fried foods! They are all shot!

                      Now I know this isn’t me. But it has me worried. All that time I black out at my desk at work I’m actually posting on H&R?

                      Thank FSM they banned 4loko, I’ve been drinking it at work telling everyone it’s an energy drink. It was becoming quite the addiction and I didn’t know if I could stop. Well that explains it. Time to get some work done for once.

                    2. And that food is Banketstaaf!

                    3. Wrong again, cabron!

                    4. winners smoke their breakfasts

                    5. You all lose.

              2. How come I can never see the word “crepes” without hearing the Downfall Hitler yelling it?

    2. What’s so unusual? Are there any serious governments in Europe these days?

  9. The company boasts that they have invited hackers to find weaknesses in their system,….

    They usually don’t need an invitation.

    1. It’s the ones who don’t wait for an invite who have always been the problem… “Ve haf invited Timmy unt Helmut to hak owver vuanted seestem unt zay ver unsuccessfull. Take zat google”

  10. I see a great cross-promotion opportunity with net neutrality here. You’ll be getting 10 times the junk mail, but it will be as secure as it is annoying!

  11. gpg is a lot cheaper.

    1. Beat me to it. Although I was just going to write “pgp.”

  12. 75 cents seems reasonable. After all every letter has to be hand encrypted on an Enigma machine.

  13. Electronic mail? Truly, I am blinded by science.

    1. I love the picture though.

      1. I’m suddenly confused.

        1. What the . . . ? How the hell can he use the handle and not me. Maybe it’s been fixed . . . *clickity clickity clackity click* Huh. Well apparently lowercase is the way to go. Fuck that! Pham it is.

  14. Deutsche Post is a mostly privately owned corporation that actually turns a profit. They operate under the DHL brand around the world.

    Now why can’t we privatize the USPS?

    1. Perhaps I should clarify that. 30% of Deutsche Post is owned by a German state owned bank. The rest is in private hands.

      1. If I remember correctly they still hold some government-issued monopoles. They are the only ones allowed to carry out letters and the government issed a law that introduced minimum wage for all postal workers, effectively crippling most smaller competitors.
        With that in mind, I do not think that you can call them “privatized”.

        1. Your information is outdated. The last remainder of the postal monopoly (letters fewer than 50 grams) expired January 2008 in Germany.

          There was a lawsuit on that minimum wage, and the German government lost. So that minimum wage is gone, too.

    2. D. Post is not quite the incompetent bureaucracy that the article implies, it owns DHL which is run from the same post offices, and they also have a bank (with the post offices acting as bank tellers).

      Germans are very paranoid about security (eg ebanking) and although this email thing is nonsense I guess they figure there is a market for it (old people?).

      1. This also is outdated – the Deutsche Postbank AG legally is a separate company, and Deutsche Bank own half of it.

  15. KMW,

    You need a faster internet (or dump trucks). The announcement was made in Feb, 2010.

    http://www.bundesnetzagentur.d…..rMail.html

    1. It just now got to her through her secure electronic magazine delivery service.

      1. Slower delivery is a small price to pay for incredible, nearly Nazi levels of security.

        1. I sense a new, corporate branding opportunity. First there was Tommy Hilfiger? and Victoria’s Secret?, and now there is Nearly Nazi?.

          This could be the beginning of the end of Hello Kitty?.

  16. “I believe, there are now many, many people, who say, ‘I lock my house, I lock my car. I also want to be able to communicate securely,’ ” says the company’s Mr. Gerdes.

    Thinking about it, it’s probably far easier to break into someone’s house than their email account.

    1. Unless you’re a celebrity whose security question answers can be found in Wikipedia.

  17. So now you can send an e-mail to the Douche BuntesPan Ge-Post, and they will print it out, put it in an envelope and deliver it for 75 cents?
    Is it just me or does this sound like an odd variation on a quaint electronic messaging system called “sending a telegram”?

  18. Nice Enigma joke.

    Does this mean that you can get all of the junkmail in your inbox instead of your mailbox? That might be worth a single trip to a post office.

  19. This sounds like a Teutonic, correspondence-centric version of Minitel.

  20. This is a all a big joke, and not many people take it seriously.

    A few years ago, German Post wanted to become an internet service provider. They offered “an email address valid a lifetime”. They then canceled that service a few years later, much shorter than “a lifetime”.

  21. This is a dumb idea, but it isn’t exactly as dumb as what is being presented. Email was never originally intended to be secure; it was basically supposed to be like a postcard. Someone monitoring traffic would see emails sent and received in plaintext. You don’t need to break into someone’s email account to read the messages; you only need to intercept them as they pass through the tubes. There are ways to fix this, but it is rather involved and slow in coming.

  22. I have a great idea for a business in Germany!

    I’d call it “The Facebook of the Month Club”.

    Every month, you’ll receive three Facebooks in the mail–and you just send back the ones you don’t want!

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