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[Discuss] need to set up fax-mail system

On 08/26/2011 11:40 PM, jk_xtblug at wrote:
> Thats true for you and I and this community, but the legal community
> and the medical community still rely on faxes for "security". (Or
> something.... ) I can't send an email to the court clerk as an
> official document. It has to be faxed, or physically delivered. Many
> Doctors will not accept email for liability reasons attributed to
> HIPAA and SarBox issues. Real reason or not, they will accept faxes.
> Yes, some doctors will do email but they are not the issue. My health
> insurance insists on faxed forms.
Unfortunately, the legal community has not really accepted digital
signatures. Certainly, email has made a big impact on just about
everyone, people still cannot scan/email a legal document to an
attorney, the courts, pharmacies etc. Faxes and fax machines are still
important in business and legal.

Years ago (1980s) I worked on a system for the Mass. university library
system where we set up scanners and PCs (eg 286) systems to transmit fax
data between the libraries. Most of these libraries had our system and a
very underutilized communications network. The system worked. If you
went to a library and needed a research paper that was in another
library, the librarian at the other end would scan it in. The issues we
had were:
1. The document scanning had to be done in the same time frame as on a
copier. (eg. librarian time). This was hard to do with the old 286 systems.
2. Some of the libraries only had faxes, so we had to manage the phone
lines as well as the comms line. Actually the comms system was
complicated because it used a different protocol that we had to write.

All in all it worked but not great because of crappy equipment.

When I was at Digital we also had a fax mail system. The issue I might
raise here for Jeff is the acceptance by the legal community. Will they
accept as a legal document a document that is
1. faxed to a fax mail system (as you have descripted)
2. faxed from a fax mail system to a real fax machine
3. Can we eliminate the fax machine altogether.

The barrier to this is acceptance by the legal system and the courts.
Properly encrypted/signed email is IMHO, more secure than faxing over
telco (assuming proper procedures are set up for encryption/signing).
So, technically your idea is very good, but once developed can you sell
it to the legal community.

Jerry Feldman <gaf at>
Boston Linux and Unix
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