The Fax Is Not Yet Obsolete

Found on The Atlantic on Sunday, 25 November 2018
Browse Technology

Fax, once at the forefront of communications technologies but now in deep decline, has persisted in many industries. Law-enforcement agencies remain heavily reliant on fax for routine operations, such as bail postings and return of public-records requests. Health care, too, runs largely on fax. Despite attempts to replace it, a mix of regulatory confusion, digital-security concerns, and stubbornness has kept fax machines droning around the world.

Fax may have a role in their offices, but it shouldn’t be the be-all-end-all of communication, even if there are reasons it has persisted. In these cases, the fax shouldn’t die because it’s old-fashioned or retrograde, but because people’s safety and comfort, and even their lives, still rely on a sheet of paper inching out of a machine, awaiting notice.

There are still valid reasons for using them to transmit data, and if it is only a second communication channel to transfer a password.