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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Secure E-mail

Somebody was complaining the other day about getting E-mail from utilities saying their bill was due, but they did not tell them him the amount. I thought it was Dustbury, but I couldn't find the post, so maybe it was someone else. I get notices from Blue Cross all the time telling me that there is a new message for me on their website. That's all the notice says, and if I go to the website, all that message says is that they paid some medical bill, or didn't, and I have to go to another page to see how much they paid or didn't. At least I recall that's how it works. I don't even bother any more since if I owe one of these guys some money, they can be counted on to send me a bill on paper. Likewise American Express sends me a note every month telling me that I have a new bill, but I have to go to some other site and download the PDF file to see what's on it. If this is what the paperless solution looks like, it sucks. I am going to stick to paper as much as I can.
    What we really need is some kind of secure E-mail. That way you get the what you need directly instead of having to jump through a bunch of hoops like a trained circus animal. There was an outfit here that developed a solution for medical offices, but it looks like they have been swamped by competitors. I didn't find them on Google. There is an open source program called PGP (Pretty Good Protection). I tried it once and it seemed to work okay, but you have to install it on your computer and everyone you want to communicate with has to install it on theirs. Not quite ubiquitous. Several big someones are going to have to decide it's worthwhile and push it out into the market all at once for it to ever become common. One big player that could influence this would be the DoD (Department of Defense), but they would probably want a back door into the encryption scheme, which would make it unpalatable to all the true believers.

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