Last month the US Post Office asked Congress for an extra day off. Turns out, with a $2.8 billion deficit in 2008, it can no longer afford to deliver mail six days a week. And with an $8 billion shortage predicted for '09, it's going to need more money than May's 2¢-stamp-price hike will bring.
Now tech startups have another idea: Get online. For real this time. Not like the e-stamp attempts that were so unpopular in the '90s. Security has always been the quandary keeping mail on the streets, but Earth Class Mail (ECM), a mail-scanning and delivery service, is ready to change that.
Its idea is that mail would go to a trusted inbox that's owned by the postal service. Once received, users could store mail on the postal carrier's servers (I hear your screams), forward it to a personal inbox, or shred it (in whatever e-way that means).
Switzerland's postal service has bought it; it's licensing ECM's technology to launch a mail service in Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and Liechtenstein. Ultimately, Earth Class Mail would like to form an international network and deliver mail worldwide.
Is this pay-for-security idea godsent, or should it get lost in the mail?