Andrew Black andrewdblack at googlemail.com
Sun Oct 19 12:45:27 UTC 2014

Can we return to the original topic.   I asserted that faxes are useful for
communicate with doctors etc when I am dealing with a chronically ill
parent and living 1.5 hours journey away.  If you know the right person to
talk to telephone is best, but GPs are hard to get hold of. Receptionist
often don't feel able to talk to you.
One clinic was great at communicating by email - not detailed medical stuff
but just the practicalities of appointments.

I am not in a position to recommend whether Fax, email, post, carrier
pigeons is more or less secure and which the NHS should use. Just I am
trying to  do the best I can for relatives with at least pain in short term.
If MI5/6 or NSA want to intercept my appointment dates I am not too

On 19 October 2014 13:22, Peter Grant <grantpe at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 19 October 2014 11:12, DL Neil <GLLUG at getaroundtoit.co.uk> wrote:
>> On 19/10/14 21:21, Mark Preston wrote:
>> > On 19/10/14 01:52, Christopher Hunter wrote:
>> >>
>> >> On 18/10/14 07:14, Mark Preston wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>> Faxes are actually very secure.
>> >>
>> >> Err... No they're not. At all.
>> >>
>> >> I had the job of designing a fax intercept machine for Police
>> monitoring
>> >> of communications traffic way back in the 80s!
>> >>
>> >> Chris
>> >>
>> >> _______________________________________________
>> >> GLLUG mailing list
>> >> GLLUG at mailman.lug.org.uk
>> >> https://mailman.lug.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/gllug
>> >>
>> > Hi Chris,
>> > Thank you for your reply, and also thanks to Bernard, Richard and James
>> > for their replies to my assertion which may well be wrong. I have no
>> > great technical knowledge on this issue, but I am interested to find out
>> > more about it. My comment was mainly based on some conversations I had
>> > with a person who worked for BT many years ago. He recently died so I
>> > can't ask him for clarification. Basically he told me he worked for a
>> > special BT unit that installed the phone lines that supplied fax
>> > machines and other telecommunications stuff in places like security
>> > offices and foreign embassies in London. He claimed that the encryption
>> > used for transmitting faxes was very secure.
>> >     In the same way that people like police can intercept phone calls I
>> > imagine that people can intercept faxes, but in relation to plain text
>> > email security this can still be considered very secure. I imagine that
>> > your fax intercept machine worked by redirecting the output of the fax,
>> > or copying it in some way similar to listening in on a phone call.
>> >
>> During the Gulf War it was noticed that Saudi Arabia was intercepting
>> international faxes - even to/from embassies! One could send a fax and
>> phone-ask the recipient to carpe diem, and he'd revert minutes later
>> complaining that the fax hadn't arrived ("must be a fault at your end,
>> old boy" - never a question of theirs - just in case you think this
>> behavior was born at IT Hell|p Desks!). Take no action and sure-enough
>> 30~37 mins later the missing transmission would arrive. Interestingly,
>> no attempt was made to re-build or obscure the header information.
>> If such brazen evidence was not enough, it was obvious something was
>> amiss: if one printed a typed-document and then faxed it, with the
>> recipient perhaps penning a few comments manually in the margins on his
>> hard-copy, which was then faxed-back; the original type was degraded
>> way-beyond the usual two-way blurring!
>> --
>> Regards,
>> =dn
>> _______________________________________________
>> GLLUG mailing list
>> GLLUG at mailman.lug.org.uk
>> https://mailman.lug.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/gllug
> As far as I understood the reason faxes being considered more secure is a
> quirk of British (and I think USA) laws. Intercepting a fax transmission
> isn't hard per se, but it's covered in the same laws as tapping someones
> telephone. Intercepting an email might be covered by the misuse of
> computers act, but it can be rather harder to prove this, and it could so
> easily end up going internationally where the law becomes rather more
> complex.
> So, although as a technical exercise neither is secure, unless you send a
> fax to an overseas number it has more legal protection than an email. For
> legal documents, health records etc this is probably good enough -
> hopefully you shouldn't need to worry about the police seeing these,
> although if they are tapping your phone line maybe you are!
> Just my understanding, IANAL etc.
> Peter
> _______________________________________________
> GLLUG mailing list
> GLLUG at mailman.lug.org.uk
> https://mailman.lug.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/gllug
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman.lug.org.uk/pipermail/gllug/attachments/20141019/6d70850b/attachment.html>

More information about the GLLUG mailing list