UPU Promotes Electronic Postmark

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The Universal Postal Union said yesterday it is working with leading postal services to promote an electronic postmark that would facilitate electronic transactions and guarantee their security.

Called the Electronic PostMark, the service applies a time-and-date seal to an electronic document, validates digital signatures and stores and archives all data needed to support a potential court challenge.

Currently used by postal services in Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Portugal and the United States, the Electronic PostMark is the digital equivalent of the indicia that appear on every stamped envelope today and has legally binding implications in matters of mail tampering.

The UPU, based in Bern, Switzerland, recently developed a global standard for PostMark and is working with major software manufacturers to incorporate this standard into applications such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat and Sun StarOffice.

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