VIA FEDEX LETTER

AND ELECTRONIC MAIL

 

 

 

 

April 2, 2001

 

Ms. Josephine Scarlett

Office of the Chief Counsel

National Telecommunications and

Information Administration

Room 4713 HCHB

1401 Constitution Avenue

Washington, D.C.  20230

 

         RE:  Comments on Section 105(a)

                 Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act         

 

Dear Ms. Scarlett:

 

Federal Express Corporation ("FedEx") appreciates the opportunity to provide these comments in response to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's ("NTIA") solicitation of comments.  66 Fed. Reg. 13048.  The numbered responses correspond to the items set forth in the Notice, as follows:

 

 

1.   General Issues

 

a.      Provide an estimate of the percentage of transactions that you conduct per month that require next day or same day delivery.

 

This depends on how you define a transaction. If electronic transactions (including email) are counted it would be near 100%. If you only consider non-electronic transactions then the percentage would decrease but remains significant. (The only non-next day delivery would be U.S. Mailed invoices and direct mail promotions.)

 

 

 

 

b.      Of the transactions included in 1(a) above, approximately what percentage of these are complicated by the fact that mail services do not have Sunday delivery?

 

0% - FedEx has Sunday delivery.

 

c.       Describe any delivery problems that you experience with electronic transmissions.

 

The network connection (whether Internet, VPN, LAN, etc.) may be down.

Messages can be lost in Cyberspace.

People can usually deny ever receiving the electronic message.

The electronic address can be incorrect.

The telecommunications infrastructure can be down.

The computers sending or receiving the transmissions can break down.

Messages may be rejected at firewalls.

 

How do these problems compare with any problems you experience using Postal Service, private express, or courier services for delivery of records?

 

There are similar problems in the physical world but usually the problem is detected much earlier in the electronic world. It is much easier to resend a transmission in the electronic world.

 

2.   Business Issues

 

  1. Do you offer consumers a choice of delivery mechanisms?

 

Yes. You can get electronic or paper invoices. You can track over the Internet or phone. You can process a shipment on an automation device or use a paper air bill.

 

Has the market evolved enough to give consumers the choices they need?

 

The markets do give consumers plenty of choices but a cheaper and more tightly integrated secure messaging and digital signature option is needed.

 

State whether you conduct a mail or express delivery service or an electronic mail business.

 

FedEx provides an express delivery service.

 

  1. Explain any benefits to your business of providing consumers with a choice between electronic transmission, postal services, or express mail service delivery of documents.

 

The benefit is the ability to satisfy more customers and provide them with the type of communication they prefer.  The benefits of electronic delivery services are primarily speed and customer convenience.  It is clear from customer research and customer trends that the reasons customers use a given channel for communication (whether it be electronic or non-electronic) are widespread.  At FedEx, customer requirements and demand are the primary drivers of any investment in electronic transmission services. 

 

Is cost a large factor in you decision to offer more than one method of delivery?

 

Yes. Costs increase with each new type of method of delivery introduced and maintained.  However, customers require choice and businesses must provide it.

 

  1. How important is the elimination of paper to your business?

 

It is an extremely important way of reducing costs.  However, of much greater importance than the elimination of paper is the preservation of the customer relationship.

 

  1. Does your software enable your company to accurately keep track of customer confirmations and electronically “file” correspondence received from customers?

 

Yes.

 

  1. What methods, if any, do you employ for sender/signature verification for electronic transactions?

 

Digital certificates are used for authentication.

 

  1. What kind of consent mechanisms does your business employ?

 

Opt in.  In every email, customers are granted the option of opting out of any future email correspondence.

 

 

 

 

  1. What methods do you employ for 3rd parties who are authenticating electronic delivery?

 

None.

 

  1. Under what circumstances will information received from a customer be shared?

 

We adhere to a strict privacy policy and will not share any information with any other company or sell information to any company or marketing group outside our company.

 

  1. Do you provide universal service?

 

Yes.

 

  1. Please estimate the percentage of the population that your business serves that receives daily deliveries, as opposed to deliveries every few days.

 

This is difficult to estimate.

 

Estimate the number of those who receive deliveries every few days that also use electronic services, if available, for faster delivery.

 

This is difficult to estimate.

 

3.  Consumer Issues

 

  1. Do you have the necessary tools to enable you to receive documents electronically?

 

Yes.

 

  1. If you have the option of receiving electronic records but choose not to, is this decision related to a lack of technology to conduct business in this manner?

 

No.

 

  1. Describe any burdens that you as a consumer experience, or expect to experience, in receiving electronic records.

 

The inability to receive files through a firewall

The inability to receive large files

The inability to open a file

Receiving a corrupt or contaminated file

Receiving an infected file

A file is lost in transit

 

  1. Compare the usefulness and burdens of receiving an electronic record, confirming receipt electronically, with the usefulness and burdens of receiving a written record.

 

Transmission of electronic records occurs instantaneously.  They can be verified more easily than written records and are much more useful after they are received due to easy manipulation and edit capabilities. A handwritten signature is still more widely accepted than a digital signature.

 

  1. Describe how the existence of electronic records affects the convenience of record keeping.

 

It is easier and cheaper to create and store electronic records. It is much easier to access the information in electronic records. It is possible to data mine electronic records. Electronic records take up much less physical space.

 

  1. How concerned are you with online privacy and security issues?

 

This is a major concern for customers therefore it is very important to us. Our customers require that all of their data and information is secure and private.

 

  1. Describe any concerns you have with keeping paper documents during their transmission and storage.

 

Papers must be stored securely. During their transmission they must be securely sealed. They can be lost in transmission or while in storage.  Archival of physical documents is expensive and retrieval is costly.

 

Are the same concerns present for electronic documents received through electronic mail?

 

Yes, although to a lesser degree in most cases.

 

If so, state whether you are more concerned with preserving the confidentiality of paper documents or electronic documents.

 

Electronic documents because they can usually be accessed remotely.

 

  1. Are electronic transactions complicated by the fact that the consumer must notify a business when the consumer’s email address changes?

 

This is no more a burden than changing physical addresses.

 

  1. Do electronic transactions increase or decrease the potential for fraud or identity theft?

 

Electronic transmissions increase the potential for fraud.  A person can shop much more quickly online with a stolen credit card than in person. Also hackers can steal credit information en masse from insufficiently secure merchants.

 

4.   Technology Issues

 

  1. What are the estimated costs, either to businesses or consumers, of updating software to ensure compatibility for the electronic transmission of electronic records?

 

The cost to businesses consumers would be that of the necessary software to transmit electronic records as well the cost of storing them.

 

  1. What types of technology are being employed to ensure security of transmissions?

 

Encryption

Digital signatures

Value added networks

Virtual private networks

Password protection

Digital certificates

SecureID tokens

 

            Are these devices effective?

 

Yes, to varying degrees.

 

  1. Are anonymizer-type programs effective in protecting online privacy?

 

Some are and some are not. Most programs eventually become obsolete as new tracking programs are able to circumvent them.

 

 

 

            Do such programs render authentication ineffective?

 

Not necessarily. It depends how effective the anonymity program is and how the authentication is being performed.

 

  1. Does your business use/provide biometrics?

 

No.

 

  1. Does your business provide consumers with technical support in the event that consumers encounter difficulties in making electronic transmissions?

 

Yes. We provide both telephone and field rep support.

 

 

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                        FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION

 

 

 

                                                                        __________________________________

                                                                        Frances J. Larkin

                                                                        Senior Attorney

                                                                        (901) 434-8502

                                                                        Fax:  (901) 434-9268

                                                                        Comat:  MEM/TN/38125-7103

 

                                   

 

 

 

 

 

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Bcc:     Robert H. Rhea

            Christine P. Richards

            Sarah S. Prosser