USPS adds certified e-mail

The U.S. Postal Service has increased its World Wide Web presence once again by offering customers the ability to send certified e-mail.

The Post Electronic Courier Service (PosteCS) enables customers to create and send messages via the Internet through a postal account and the USPS data center. Customers don't need an Internet service provider to send electronic messages.

Customers can access the service on the Web at www.framed.usps.com/postecs. Once a document is sent, it is stored on a USPS server and given its own Web address. The intended recipient gets an e-mail notification that a document has been sent to them and that it can be accessed via the URL provided.

The PosteCS system notifies senders when a document has been sent, when the recipient has been notified and when the recipient has opened the document.

USPS is offering a free, 30-day trial of the new service, which eventually will cost $1.70 per transaction.

Additional security for electronic post office mail will come through electronic postmarks — the digital equivalent of the ink postmark placed on a stamp.

"PosteCS brings the trust, security and peace of mind that the Postal Service brand is known for to the area of global electronic communications," said John Nolan, the deputy postmaster general. "In addition, through PosteCS, customers will have the option of using the USPS Electronic Postmark, which provides an added layer of security to electronic documents."

USPS is using Tumbleweed Communications Corp.'s servers, software and technology to offer the certified e-mail service.

"Tumbleweed technology and services have been implemented to provide confidentiality and security to users," said Mark Pastore, Tumbleweed's vice president of corporate development. "Tumbleweed has a robust Internet message server that can handle high volume in a secure architecture that includes privacy, authentication and tamper notification."

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