The Deutsche Post (German Mail company) is offering a new email-like service called “E-Postbrief” with which they claim to bring “privacy of correspondence to the internet.” It is also supposed to allow reliable delivery of documents, suitable for contracts and similar stuff. Others have written enough about the various privacy, security and other concerns, so I’m just going to summarize them here:
- Mails are not encrypted end to end, only during transmission from and to the server.
- Users are required to check their mailbox daily in the terms and conditions of the service, otherwise it’s their own fault if they don’t get a (possibly legally binding) document in time.
- Each mail costs at least 0.55€ (approx. 0.70$).
- Addresses will be given to others if the user agrees to be listed in a public address list (I’m not sure if that is opt-in or opt-out, but it seems like a pretty bad idea in any case).
- Mails that the user deleted are only “blocked” and will be deleted only after an unspecified delay.
There might be some more, but I just want to add a historical side note. The domain the Deutsche Post uses for the E-Postbrief service is “epost.de”, and that reminded me of something: Starting from 2000-06-26, they offered a “lifelong valid” email address under the same domain. Well, “livelong” was a bit of exaggeration in this case, because they closed the service on 2005-02-28. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that… 😉