We are living in an age of great technological progress and innovation. It seems that the machines on which we build our lives are getting even more advanced at ever increasing speeds, and subsequently we already see a large number of devices and technologies are now obsolete. Cassette tapes, VCRs, pagers and floppy discs have all been replaced in some shape or form. However, other examples of older technology continue to linger on. Famously, fax machines are still in use enough that the Government sometimes requires certain forms to be delivered by fax, not e-mail.
The question of why that is has been raised more than once by various people on the internet. More technological snobbish commentators have speculated that the Government is just inept in its traditionalism, while others argue it is for ease of costs. The truth is much simpler.
The Difficulty of Electronic Signatures
One of the main issues with delivering mail electronically is that it is all rather uniform and indistinct. There’s no real way of telling who sent a given e-mail unless we examine IPs, and that is not always an accurate way of assessing internet identities. This means it can be very easy to fabricate documents and impersonate other people to the Government. In particular, it is easy to Photoshop signatures onto forms for illicit ends.
Thus, fax machines are an ideal way to circumnavigate this problem. By requiring a physical copy of the document to be faxed to the office, it becomes that much harder to intercept and impersonate the message. Likewise, it becomes much harder to try and forge a given signature. Fax machines link directly to each other, and the signal between the two cannot easily be tapped. Thus, it is easy to send a form, have it signed, and then send back to the original sender.
Physical Copies are Harder to Lose
If a governmental archive suffers from a virus or computer worm, or else suffers from a simple human error from an administrator, then critical documents may get lost. Keeping fax machines, and faxing physical documents, allow for a hard copy to be maintained for a while in a separate archive has a sort of emergency measure. Unlike electronic digital files, paper is not usually bothered by a sudden black out or virus attack.
This is crucial for particularly important forms that a person may possess, such as birth certificates or proof of guardianship over a child. In such situations, a mere e-mail is not going to do.
Another major advantage of fax machines is that they can be used to access just about any other country on the planet. Not all global governments necessarily have the amount of governmental infrastructure and communication technology necessary to send documents via the web. In poorer nations, the knowledge how may be a little more pressing. There’s also the fact that not all languages, with their various alphabets and characters, always translate well to typing on a keyboard.
Thus, a fax machine can be used to link government offices to each other in a much more universal way than the internet is currently capable of. So for forms like immigration forms or VISA applications, the ease of use behind a fax machine makes it an ideal choice.
Fax Machines, the Venerable Office Equipment
Let it not be said that fax machines are perfect by any means. However, they still have their uses and advantages even years after e-mail become a truly popular phenomena in the West. While it is impossible to say whether there’ll, it certainly seems as though the government believes they still have a vital service to provide in the immediate future instead. Of course, it is understandable that you might not be willing to purchase a fax machine immediately just to communicate with the government. In that case you can turn to an online faxing service, and you can compare available services through FindAFax.
The writer, Christian Mills, is a tech blogger who strives to provide his readers with the most up-to-date information on what is happenig in the tech space, as well as providing them with reasons why the high-tech solution might not always be best. If you wish to learn more about Christian you can visit on Google+.