Deutsche Post to remove digital signatures from E-Postbrief service

Deutsche Post is removing the personal encryption and digital signature capabilities from its secure digital mail service, E-Postbrief, as of next month. The German postal operator has advised its customers that the terms of service for E-Postbrief will change as of 25th September.

Deutsche Post told Post&Parcel today that it removed the separate encryption and signature options for its service to make E-Postbrief easier to use.

Spokesman Alexander Edenhofer said the basic platform of E-Postbrief was sufficiently secure to meet requirements for transmitting legal documents electronically without the extra security functionality.

E-Postbrief was launched in 2010 as an authenticated and secure electronic mail delivery platform, complying with the German government’s De-Mail Law, which aims to open secure electronic channels for businesses and government communications.

The service is up against a rival “de-mail” service being launched publicly at the end of this month by a consortium including Deutsche Telekom, TNT Germany and Mentana-Claimsoft.

Deutsche Post’s E-Postbrief was certified by the German standards agency TÜV last October. The service has also been accredited by the German Federal Office for Information Security to the ISO 27001 IT security standard, and by the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection Schleswig Holstein (the ULD-Seal).

Today, the company said such certification of E-Postbrief’s state-of-the-art security and encryption meant extra security measures were not needed.

Edenhofer explained: “The general safety standard of E-Postbrief thus offers our clients the best possible security so that even without the additional option of “personal certificates” a safe and confidential online communication is possible.”

The Deutsche Post spokesman added that ease of use would come automatically for customers once the change was made.

Deutsche Post keeps its subscriber numbers confidential regarding E-Postbrief, but its spokesman said today the number of users was seeing “continuous growth”.

Deutsche Telekom

Separately, Deutsche Telekom confirmed today that its de-mail digital service will launch throughout Germany on 31st August.

The service is being launched at the consumer electronics trade show Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin.

Even before the official public launch, the service already has more than one million people signed up, while “tens of thousands” of businesses have indicated they will use the service, including the likes of Targobank and Allianz.

As well as digital mail, the service will offer a hybrid mail option, with users able to print messages out and mail them physically, via the TNT Post Germany delivery network.

Deutsche Telekom chief executive Rene Obermann said today: “De-mail brings us one step closer to the gigabit society. Combining the benefits of the Internet with those of written communication, De-Mail is convenient, secure and legally-binding.”

When the De-Mail service launches, private customers will gain a special offer to send 50 De-Mails for free each month until the end of 2012. After that, users will be allowed three free De-Mails a month, with additional messages sent at a 39-cent rate each.

Introductory offers for SMEs to use the service will also offer 50 free De-Mail messages per month for six months for those registering before the end of 2012.

Deutsche Telekom said today that it was expecting that De-Mail would replace 29% of the 17.5bn letters and 39% of the 5.4bn faxes sent in Germany each year by 2018.

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