Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 02-23-2020, 06:31 AM
TokyoBayer's Avatar
TokyoBayer is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Taiwan
Posts: 10,881
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
This was a topic recently on Japanese Twitter. (Jitter?)
That advice is 30 years old, at least. No one I ever saw pay with credit cards ever apologized.
  #52  
Old 02-23-2020, 08:16 AM
icon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 126
From my experience living in Japan, it is more practical vs new when it comes to technology. As an example, the use of cell phones was much higher in Japan than in the US with a lot more things possible with cell phones (pre smartphone) than was generally available elsewhere. One reason for it was that having a PC at home took up much space something that can be a premium in Japan. Now that you have tablets and smaller PCs, they have become more prevalent in homes.

When it comes to contactless payments, these had been going in Japan for a long time at train stations, which given how much public transportation they use makes sense. In fact one of the reasons it too some time for Apple pay to take off as well as NFCless iPhones is because they already had network for those type of transactions.

Japan is still to a large extent a cash society in certain sectors, though that is changing, probably in many cases due to the Olympics which means a large group of foreigners will be entering the country that do not have the local currency that they want to accomodate.

//i\\
  #53  
Old 02-23-2020, 01:21 PM
Sage Rat's Avatar
Sage Rat is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 22,734
Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
That advice is 30 years old, at least. No one I ever saw pay with credit cards ever apologized.
I concur. Never even heard of apologizing for using a credit card and that was in the late 90s, early 2000s.
  #54  
Old 02-23-2020, 01:55 PM
RaftPeople is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: 7-Eleven
Posts: 6,857
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Librarian View Post
If anything: not worded strong enough.

A “procedure” for sending a fax doesn’t improve any security...
Security and Procedures:
Let's review what the word "security" means, here's the definition as it relates to information security:
"the state of being protected against the unauthorized use of information, especially electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this."

Procedures are absolutely a valid component of "security". For example, if we used encryption, we need good procedures to protect the private keys to improve the relative security compared to if we didn't protect the private keys.


Point to Point Communications without Perm Digital Storage:
You seem to ignore or discount this aspect. You broadly state sending a fax doesn't improve any security (as compared to digital storage and transmission methods), but you don't offer any actual arguments or points.
  #55  
Old 02-23-2020, 04:12 PM
Melbourne is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
But businesses are slow to change. If it ain't broke don't fix it. If fax is broke, show me why.

FWIW, we are disconnecting our fax machine next month (melb.vic.au). Because it's "broke". They are in the process of disconnecting all of the telephone lines in Aus (replaced with network and VOIP and cell phones).

We could move to virtual fax, or possibly to a fax adapter (mixed reports on that), but we aren't. If anybody tries to send us a fax, they'll probably call us to see why it isn't working.
  #56  
Old 02-24-2020, 04:47 AM
Isamu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Osaka
Posts: 6,889
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
They are in the process of disconnecting all of the telephone lines in Aus (replaced with network and VOIP and cell phones).
Wow, I did not know that. (Am coming back to Melb for 10 days next month, will be interested to see). Japan still has above-ground unsightly telephone wires and sketchy street connections that help uglify the environment everywhere.

A lot of new technologies and improvements are made in Japan, like really high-quality semiconductors (that don't sell well because most companies don't want to pay for that high-quality and will settle for cheaper ones made in S. Korea that do the job. This is a bit of a problem for some Japanese companies - making products too good for the market).

Unless the adoption of new tech in daily life is unquestionably better for everyone involved it is not usually readily taken on board in Japan. The auto-pay turnstiles at train stations was an easy sell simply from the point of view of never having to queue up at a ticket machine anymore.
  #57  
Old 02-24-2020, 03:44 PM
Grestarian is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Garage & Lab
Posts: 1,604
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue View Post
I would bet that you aren’t in the medical field. The vast majority of doctor’s offices, nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, etc. all use fax machines on a daily basis.

ETA. At least those in the United States.
And this is why the banking and insurance industries -- probably courts, and law offices, as well -- are still using fax technology.

To be fair, though, a lot of modern printer models incorporate scanning and copying into the machines and adding a telephone connector isn't much of a stretch at that point. Scan a document in and transmit it across the world to a number-designation (or send it straight from your computer to the receiver's computer) and they might even print out what they received. Essentially, that's still a fax.

The fact of the matter is that we really don't need to be obliterating forests to make paper any more; pictures and words can be displayed in multiple languages (even at the same time) on screens. Nevertheless, I'd be willing to bet (and happy to lose that bet) that everyone on this board has received a piece of paper for a transaction or record -- a receipt, an invoice, a ticket, a note for remembering something, event information, political advertising, whatever -- over the last weekend.

Yeah, we're still using that ancient technology from ancient Egypt.

--G!
  #58  
Old 02-24-2020, 08:03 PM
bbonden is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 243
To the OP:

One description I've heard from several knowledgeable folks is that Japan is (or was) cutting edge on developing hardware but a laggard on software.

Hardware dominated the 80s, perhaps even the 90s, and earlier.

The majority of the issues mentioned in this thread, and other technological advances, are software-driven.
  #59  
Old 02-24-2020, 10:28 PM
EdelweissPirate is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Portland, OR USA
Posts: 809
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Librarian View Post
If anything: not worded strong enough.

A “procedure” for sending a fax doesn’t improve any security: if anything it adds a false sense of security. (Scare quotes to be imagined with roll eyes and meaningful pauses)
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaftPeople View Post
Security and Procedures:
Let's review what the word "security" means [...]
Let’s not. I used to work in the infosec field; respectfully, The Librarian is totally on point. This isn’t even a debate in that field.

It’s a truism that security is a process (as opposed to a result), so your argument about process is germane—or it would be if we were discussing anything other than faxes. Faxes are inherently insecure, and the only procedure that could change that would be a procedure for throwing the fax machine into the dumpster.

Your profile says you work in software; for all I know you’re a software engineer. But plenty of programmers have blind spots around security. I once found a critical bug in some fancy engineering analysis software. This bug was trivial to fix, but it was the most severe kind: a remote root exploit. Anyone could run arbitrary shell commands as root—no privilege escalation necessary! It was bad.

The software product manager (who had a comp sci degree) revealed his cluelessness when he responded, “Oh, that’s not a problem at all. You should always be running on a secure network.” It’s a basic tenet of network security that there are no secure networks. (The bug got fixed post haste).

The gun is always loaded; the network is never secure. Faxes are grossly and inherently insecure for an array of reasons. I’ve heard physicians and attorneys claim that they used faxes because of their greater security, but those people were just parroting received wisdom. No set of procedures addresses the most glaring vulnerabilities of fax transmission. Here’s an article covering a number of them:
https://www.wired.com/story/fax-mach...lnerabilities/

End-to-end encryption is what one wants. Email can have end-to-end encryption via PGP and similar software. Key management for email can be a real pain; I don’t want to soft-pedal that. But faxes don’t have any substantial security features1 at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaftPeople View Post
Point to Point Communications without Perm Digital Storage:
You seem to ignore or discount this aspect. You broadly state sending a fax doesn't improve any security (as compared to digital storage and transmission methods), but you don't offer any actual arguments or points.
Yes. I’d bet The Librarian ignored this line of reasoning and didn’t bother to counter it because that would be a little like countering an argument that the earth is flat. You’re making an extraordinary claim here, yet you haven’t produced any extraordinary evidence.

It’s true that most emails are stored in plaintext as they’re routed to their final recipients, but so what? That’s true of faxes as well. If you’ve properly encrypted an email (reasonable algorithm and key length) there’s no particular threat from digital storage in transit nor at either end. Faxes are vulnerable to interception at the beginning, middle and end.

Really, this doesn’t have much to do with faxes themselves. If you aspire to keep information private, you need to secure it properly. Transmitting data in plaintext (as a fax, a telnet session or just by speaking too loudly in a restaurant) runs counter to that goal—so you don’t send sensitive data in plaintext via any medium.

Faxes are accepted as “secure” in the medical and legal communities, but acceptance doesn’t remove the scare quotes. People in those fields are likely meeting de facto and/or regulatory1 standards, but no one should confuse compliance with actual security.


1 There’s such a thing as encrypted faxes, but IMNSHO those are only technically faxes—they use fax protocols, but theyre wrapped in a layer of encryption and sent over the internet. At that point, it’s an encrypted file transfer just like SCP, TLS or anything else. It’s only called a “fax” because regulators and (especially) those in medical practices are comfortable with faxes.

2 IME working in a HIPAA-controlled environment, absolutely no one cares about security; they care exclusively about compliance. HIPAA penalties can be very stiff, so that makes some sense. But medical workers aren’t experts on law or cybersecurity, and I suspect more non-HIPAA-compliant faxes get sent than anyone wants to admit.

Last edited by EdelweissPirate; 02-24-2020 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Typos
  #60  
Old 02-24-2020, 10:36 PM
snfaulkner's Avatar
snfaulkner is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: 123 Fake Street
Posts: 8,780
https://www.wired.com/story/fax-mach...lnerabilities/

Fixed link.
__________________
It may be because I'm a drooling simpleton with the attention span of a demented gnat, but would you mind explaining everything in words of one syllable. 140 chars max.
  #61  
Old 02-24-2020, 10:40 PM
EdelweissPirate is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Portland, OR USA
Posts: 809
Thanks! I fixed it within the edit window, but still, I appreciate your doing that!
  #62  
Old 02-24-2020, 10:43 PM
Isamu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Osaka
Posts: 6,889
One thing that will shock you if you come to Japan from a western nation is that offices and public facilities are maintained at the barest minimal cost. No one (but the top companies) wants to spend money on a nice office environment. Police stations (Koban) are a disaster, go inside one and have a look. The desks will all be 1960s era, wobbly, and peeling. Aluminum doors, just ugly.
  #63  
Old 02-24-2020, 10:47 PM
snfaulkner's Avatar
snfaulkner is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: 123 Fake Street
Posts: 8,780
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdelweissPirate View Post
Thanks! I fixed it within the edit window, but still, I appreciate your doing that!
No problemo. I just hope our "dearly" departed and others read that article.
__________________
It may be because I'm a drooling simpleton with the attention span of a demented gnat, but would you mind explaining everything in words of one syllable. 140 chars max.
  #64  
Old 02-25-2020, 12:49 AM
EdelweissPirate is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Portland, OR USA
Posts: 809
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I am unaware of a machine that automates the scan/email process to this extent.
Those giant copier/printer things in most offices offer a function often called “scan to email,” where you enter the recipient’s email address and hit “go”—and that’s it. Typically the recipient gets an email with the scanned pages as .pdf or .jpg attachments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I also don't agree with you guys' definition of obsolete.
Ok boomer. (I kid!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I would argue that, in general, fax machines are obsolete, but not in certain fields like medicine where they still have not been widely replaced with superior technologies. The medical field hangs behind on upgrading because of the need to establish stricter requirements than most people when importing new technologies.
This is a coherent argument, but I still disagree. The medical field (very generally) is a technological backwater populated by practitioners who fear change with the fiery intensity of a thousand burning suns. I once worked on a machine that would use real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction, AKA gene amplification) to determine which strain of the flu virus a patient had. It would strip all identifying info from its records and upload them daily to the CDC. This would allow the CDC to track each season’s flu with unprecedented granularity and help guide the next season’s vaccine. My understanding is that this could save hundreds or (low) thousands of lives annually. (I’m no microbiologist or epidemiologist. I’m just repeating what I was told).

Exactly zero physicians would have this thing in their office. It would correctly benefit patients and the public in general, but the fact that it sent data out of the office was a non-starter. IIRC, this company provided letters from the CDC stating that their machine didn’t constitute a HIPAA violation and even offered to indemnify physicians against regulatory violations, but they still got zero traction.

The precautionary principle is self-contradictory, widely misunderstood and overall does more harm than good. Worse, it’s too often a fig leaf for intellectual laziness. Of course, this is just my opinion and nothing more. But I was icked out that so many physicians seemed to act directly against the best interests of their patients and against the best interests of public health simply to cover their butts.*



* Maybe I wasn’t given the whole story. Maybe physicians were objecting to other aspects of this company’s terms and conditions. But the people I worked with expressed incredulous frustration that fit l with the “physicians say ‘no’ reflexively” narrative. Given that evidence-based medicine is somehow distinct from medicine writ large—shouldn’t medicine generally be evidence-based? Like, by default?—I hope you’ll forgive my skepticism of the the profession’s claimed rigor. That said, as flawed as western medicine may be, it’s a whole lot better than the other options in most respects.
  #65  
Old 02-25-2020, 06:53 AM
Machine Elf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 12,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdelweissPirate View Post
Those giant copier/printer things in most offices offer a function often called “scan to email,” where you enter the recipient’s email address and hit “go”—and that’s it. Typically the recipient gets an email with the scanned pages as .pdf or .jpg attachments.
This, although I typically email the scanned document to myself - then I can send it to the final recipient from my own email account, which allows me to include a typed message (e.g. "dear Bob, here's the kill list you asked for") and have a digital record of having sent it.

My email "sent" folder has thousands of emails on it. I can't imagine having a filing cabinet with thousands of fax confirmation sheets in it. What a waste of space and paper.
  #66  
Old 02-25-2020, 07:42 AM
road_lobo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Librarian View Post
“The internet” is a term for all things interconnect through the world: at no point in time was the “phone network” not considered a part of the internet (except by you of course)
"The internet" = tcp/ip. It's not "all interconnected things."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_protocol_suite

POTS was not a part of the internet for some time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_...ephone_service

lol internets
  #67  
Old 02-25-2020, 11:24 AM
RaftPeople is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: 7-Eleven
Posts: 6,857
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdelweissPirate View Post
The gun is always loaded; the network is never secure. Faxes are grossly and inherently insecure for an array of reasons. I’ve heard physicians and attorneys claim that they used faxes because of their greater security, but those people were just parroting received wisdom. No set of procedures addresses the most glaring vulnerabilities of fax transmission. Here’s an article covering a number of them:
https://www.wired.com/story/fax-mach...lnerabilities/
Did you read that article?

The vulnerability was related to fax machines that are also connected to a network and the ability to gain access to the network. That has nothing to do with the discussion, which is about using stand alone fax machines for point to point communications through the pstn and the security of those communications.


Quote:
End-to-end encryption is what one wants.
Sure encryption is great but it's no guarantee, there are vulnerabilities everywhere (e.g. meltdown and spectre, or the recent MS cert issue, or the NSA and elliptic curve, etc. etc. etc.).
  #68  
Old 02-25-2020, 02:21 PM
Sage Rat's Avatar
Sage Rat is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 22,734
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
One thing that will shock you if you come to Japan from a western nation is that offices and public facilities are maintained at the barest minimal cost. No one (but the top companies) wants to spend money on a nice office environment. Police stations (Koban) are a disaster, go inside one and have a look. The desks will all be 1960s era, wobbly, and peeling. Aluminum doors, just ugly.
One theory that I've seen is that the Japanese have a tradition of building things to be dispensable. Their solution to hurricanes wasn't to build hurricane resistant houses, it was too build paper houses that you could tape back together after everything had been destroyed.

Outside of temples, "build to last" isn't their motto. Cheap parts, flimsy materials, cheap construction.... I don't know, there must be some form of upside to it.
  #69  
Old 02-25-2020, 07:34 PM
Saturn Dreams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 708
Quote:
Originally Posted by CastletonSnob View Post
Japan is often thought of as the country of cutting edge, futuristic technology, but that might not always be true. I recently read that lots of people in Japan still use fax machines and a lot of Japanese companies still use Geocities for web design.

Can anyone who's been to Japan or knows more about Japanese culture say if this is true or not? And if it's true, why does Japan use outdated technology?
Although declining every year, it’s true that many businesses still use fax machines, especially those in “traditional” fields of commerce such as banking and insurance. The main reasons bandied about for this are:
1. There is a clear record of a fax being sent and received.
2. It’s easy to mark up and add addendums on the fly
3. Easy to stamp with a personal seal (used in Japanese businesses everywhere) to indicate that senior member has seen it/approved it.
4. To prevent accidentally sending sensitive document to someone else and/or leak of sensitive information.
5. Easy to handle and store important documents in paper form.
6. It’s luddite-friendly in the sense that all you need is a phone line, a fax machine, and a writing utensil.


As for companies using Geocities to design their website, I’ve never seen or heard of this. Geocities doesn’t even exist in Japan anymore.
  #70  
Old 02-26-2020, 06:03 AM
Melbourne is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 6,016
One of the features of the fax system is that the intended recipient (avoiding all discussion about security here), is a location. sometimes you want the information to go to a location.

Mobile phones (and email) are more convenient because they go to the right person, wherever that person may be.

Faxes are more convenient because they go to the right location, regardless of who's working there at any given time.
  #71  
Old 02-26-2020, 06:29 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Rural Western PA
Posts: 34,268
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Faxes are more convenient because they go to the right location, regardless of who's working there at any given time.
Assuming the sender uses the correct number.

I once recieved multiple faxes from a local Highschool nurse. There was sensitive information, so I faxed back that they had the wrong number. Despite this, more faxes followed.

Pissed off (they were using my paper and ink) I called the intended recipients landline (it was on the fax) of the student's parent. I told them I was a stranger and read aloud information about the daughter's birth control, etc. Mom was super pissed and contacted the school I assume, as I never got another fax from the nurse.
  #72  
Old 02-26-2020, 07:57 AM
Isamu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Osaka
Posts: 6,889
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
One theory that I've seen is that the Japanese have a tradition of building things to be dispensable.
Like by vending machine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Their solution to hurricanes wasn't to build hurricane resistant houses, it was too build paper houses that you could tape back together after everything had been destroyed.

Outside of temples, "build to last" isn't their motto. Cheap parts, flimsy materials, cheap construction.... I don't know, there must be some form of upside to it.
Yes. It's almost as if most of the construction companies got together and made a collective decision to do things cheaply and still charge high prices.... lol. (that probably happened)
  #73  
Old 02-26-2020, 08:00 AM
ftg's Avatar
ftg is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Not the PNW :-(
Posts: 21,684
Quote:
Originally Posted by road_lobo View Post
"The internet" = tcp/ip. It's not "all interconnected things."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_protocol_suite

POTS was not a part of the internet for some time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plain_...ephone_service

lol internets
If I may invoke my credentials as an ex-Computer Science prof here: You are exactly right. (Well, except for the lower-case "internet" thing. It's a named item. So, "Internet" like "Mars". Even my spell-checker agrees.)
  #74  
Old 02-26-2020, 09:59 AM
KneadToKnow is offline
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 27,064
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
Like by vending machine?
Oh, yeah.

Fun fact: I typed "crazy Japanese" into the Goog and it auto-filled "vending machines."
  #75  
Old 02-26-2020, 11:21 AM
Mavis Topholese is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Toronto
Posts: 125
bear in mind it's been 8 years since we were last in Japan, but the place is a fascinating mix of cutting-edge high-tech and kludgy "if it ain't broke don't fix it" holdouts. Most businesses were cash only, bank ATMs would close after a certain time, we spent some time in Bic Camera in Suidobashi marveling at both the brand new 72" 3D HD TV (that was playing a new 3D CG movie based on a fifty year old property) and their selection of CD players, turntables, and cassette decks (!!).

We wandered through Tsutaya in Shinjuku, gasping at the shelves and shelves and shelves and shelves of rental VHS. The guest PC in the lobby of our hotel was two or three Windows iterations old. Kanda-Jinboucho is filled with book publishers, new bookstores, used bookstores, all kinds of low-tech printed matter.

And of course Tokyo smokes like it's the 1980s! In conclusion, Japan is a land of contrasts.
__________________
mister kitty loves you
  #76  
Old 02-26-2020, 12:15 PM
krondys's Avatar
krondys is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Gillette, Wyoming
Posts: 1,249
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I am unaware of a machine that automates the scan/email process to this extent. You usually have to create an email, scan it in, add your own text, and then send it.
My office machines (Kyocera scanner/copier/printer thingamabobs) work literally the same for fax or email.

You push "Send", place your documents in the feeder, choose from a directory (which can be either email addresses, network folders, or fax numbers) and hit start. It scans the documents, emails them to any email addresses, places PDFs in any network folders, and sends a fax to any fax numbers.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:52 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017