The announcement service will be available to around 34 million users of the 1 & 1 subsidiaries GMX and Web.de in future, which, according to 1 & 1, is about 50 percent of all Internet users in Germany. The offer is made possible by a cooperation with Deutsche Post, which provides the necessary photos of the shipments. In any case, these photos are taken during the automated sorting of mail in the post center, explains Klaus Ehrnsperger, head of the product management for mail communication / e-mail at Deutsche Post.
Swiss Post currently delivers around 55 million letters a day. In the 82 letter centers nationwide, all machine-sorted, addressed items are photographed automatically in order to extract the delivery address from them using OCR.
Before a GMX or Web.de customer can use the new service, their identity as a postal customer and their postal address must be merged with their identity as an email provider customer. For this purpose, the service user in spe first requests a TAN letter and then electronically receives the address currently stored at Swiss Post and the email data stored with the provider. The customer can check these, correct them if necessary and then confirm them. He then receives a 12-digit code in the mail, which he enters under gmx.net/brief or deutschepost.de/briefankuendigung types in to sign up for the notification service.
All data centers involved are located in Germany and are therefore subject to German data protection regulations and the GDPR. According to the provider, data transmission between Deutsche Post and GMX is carried out using TLS encryption throughout. Special identification protocols and other security mechanisms would be used to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks, Ehrnsperger said. If desired, users can activate two-factor authentication free of charge. After delivery, the image files of the photographed items are deleted from Deutsche Post’s systems.
The providers want to gradually expand their service. As of 2021, digital copies of the letter content are also to be delivered by email. However, this is only possible on condition that the sender of the post provides this content digitally.
In order to comply with the legal requirements of postal and telecommunications secrecy (“letter secrecy”), the same applies to the letter announcement as for the planned digital transmission of shipment content that only shipments from recipients who have explicitly given Deutsche Post an order are processed.
1 & 1 plans to expand the sorting, archiving and response functions of the Web.de and GMX mail clients in such a way that users can also organize and process their mail by 2021. In addition, according to the provider, an appointment reminder is planned.
This article comes from c’t 17/2020.