Postmarking E-mail

WASHINGTON (04/28/2000) - As electronic messaging continues to gain popularity over handwritten correspondence, the U.S. Postal Service hopes to maintain its tradition of providing secure delivery of information through its Electronic Postmark.

USPS' Electronic Postmark, released April 20, can be attached to any Internet communication and protects documents by detecting if a document or file has been tampered with in transit. The postmark also will make it easier to investigate and determine who tampered with a document and when.

Similar to a receipt one receives when mailing a package, customers using the Electronic Postmark will be able to provide proof that a document existed at a specific time and date.

"The Electronic Postmark will give online communicators a little peace of mind and add a level of trust and security that Americans have come to expect from sending a regular hard-copy letter," deputy Postmaster General John Nolan said.

"Today, the Postal Service brings our trademark values of security, trust and tradition to the brave new world of the Internet."

The Electronic Postmark is not a replacement for e-mail service, but rather an added feature that Internet service providers can offer customers, a USPS spokeswoman said. PostX Corp., a provider of applications for high-volume, secure Internet platforms, is the first commercial vendor to offer the Electronic Postmark to its customers.

"This is an innovative service that combines the integrity and protection of the Postal Service with the speed and convenience of the Internet," said R.C.

Venkatraman, founder and chief executive officer of PostX.

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