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Mechanism for Secure Faxing and disabling entry of SPAM faxes

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015113D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Aug-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 87K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Spam faxing has become a problem in the industry. People troll through telephone numbers until they get a fax number and then sell the aggregation of numbers to spam advertisers. These advertisers then fax large numbers of advertisements to their fax directory. They are using the machines and supplies of the recipients of their advertising without permission. Clearly this is a problem. One way of solving this problem would be to simply turn the fax machine off when it is not in use, but this is not terribly practical. Some businesses may have different groups in different locations faxing information back and forth at all times of day. What is needed is a means of determining if the sender of a fax is authorized to send the fax before valuable resources are spent printing it out. A TCPA compliant fax system could solve this problem. This Mechanism is illustrated in the Figure below. A TCPA Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip is added to a Group III Fax machine to make it TCPA compliant. Faxes sent by such a Fax machine to another TCPA compliant Fax machine would use the Public/Private key, digital signature, Digital Certificate, and private value storage capability of a TCPA TPM. By itself, such technology does not solve the problem, though. There are several requirements that still need to be met.

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Mechanism for Secure Faxing and disabling entry of SPAM faxes

  Spam faxing has become a problem in the industry. People troll through telephone numbers until they get a fax number and then sell the aggregation of numbers to spam advertisers. These advertisers then fax large numbers of advertisements to their fax directory. They are using the machines and supplies of the recipients of their advertising without permission. Clearly this is a problem.

One way of solving this problem would be to simply turn the fax machine off when it is not in use, but this is not terribly practical. Some businesses may have different groups in different locations faxing information back and forth at all times of day. What is needed is a means of determining if the sender of a fax is authorized to send the fax - before valuable resources are spent printing it out.

A TCPA compliant fax system could solve this problem. This Mechanism is illustrated in the Figure below. A TCPA Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip is added to a Group III Fax machine to make it TCPA compliant. Faxes sent by such a Fax machine to another TCPA compliant Fax machine would use the Public/Private key, digital signature, Digital Certificate, and private value storage capability of a TCPA TPM.

By itself, such technology does not solve the problem, though. There are several requirements that still need to be met.

    The fax machine must still be able to receive messages from other fax machines that are not TCPA compliant if they are authorized, and the fax machine still needs to be able to not receive unauthorized faxes. In the case of a TCPA compliant fax machine, the use of certificates can solve the problem. (e.g. a TCPA compliant system can sign the fax with its signature, the signature being certlified by the business as suitable for producing faxes that may be received.

However in the case of an older fax machine, this is more difficult. In the case of an older fax machine, however, it is still possible to use this technique as follows: The initial cover page will be produced by a machine that is capable of signing a date/time stamp using a key that is certified. This cover page, printed out in a good machine readable font will be faxed as the first page going to the recipient TCPA machine, which will use OCR technology to read the appropriate date/time stamp, signature, and certificate (which will of course be only approximate) and then use the information to determine if the message is suitable for spending paper on.

If will of course be necessary for each 256 bits to be broken down into a code that will permit it to be transmitted over a fax machine. This can easily be done using just 16 letters of the alphabet. It is obvious that the 16 letters should be chosen so as to make the scanning less susceptible to errors. (E.g. not use both C and G).

To make implementation easier, it is possible to use the same technique (a fake first page sent by the TCPA compliant fax machine) can...