In the olden days we wrote letters, and from some time in the late 19th century got used to the notion that for much of the country a letter posted on Monday would arrive on Tuesday.
Indeed, there are many of us still around who as children can remember three postal deliveries a day and the delivery of the post on Christmas Day (which meant of course you posted your cards on 24th December).
Today, of course, is different. Apparently there are 3,146,000,000,000 email accounts worldwide. Now not all of them are used and some are owned by the same person for different guises. But still it is a big number.
The average person who works receives and sends 112 emails a day!!!!
I must say I find that number hard to believe, but I have found the number cited on quite a few sites, so 112 it is.
But this shows us the problem of the whole digital issue. I write down that the average number is 112 per day, and so here is another site quoting that number. If I had written that in a letter to you, it would go no further. Just me and you. And the postman.
Incidentally 71% of email traffic last year was spam, and we have now passed the 40th anniversary of the first email (which I have read was one sent from one room in Cern, where the hadron collider is in Switzerland, to another room in the facility).
As for websites there were 555,000,000 by the end of last year – which is more than double the number of websites at the end of 2010. Quite a lot when you come to think of it.
So, what does this all mean?
First, it means we seem to be writing more all the time. Second, it seems to mean that a huge amount of stuff that is written is not specifically what we want to receive.
And third, it means there is a problem.
We know that emails are often hacked, just like News Corporation hacked telephones, and so emails are by no means secure. Which leads us to ask, how do you correspond in a secure manner?
The answer is, of course, you go back to basics. You correspond through the post. Although technically any letter can be opened and read by anyone as it makes its journey between you and the recipient, the reality is that the mail is now seen as so old fashioned and the technology for reading letters in bulk so non-existent – that this doesn’t happen.
What’s more, although there are many laws around that compel internet organisations to keep records of all the emails running through their systems, there are no laws that say we have to keep letters.
Although of course, we do like to keep letters. But, you may say, if we keep letters surely they can be investigated by the authorities (we don’t yet say “hacked” about letters, but it amounts to the same thing).
The answer is no – investigating emails is done digitally through searches for individual phrases and words. Suspected terrorists use all sorts of dodgy words (which for obvious reasons I won’t repeat here) and so their emails are searched for those terms.
There is no technology for doing this with letters. Hence letters travel safely, and you can put them in a storage facility, such as that at Admiral, and rest assured that no one is going to hack into them.
Safe communication has arrived at last. (Or rather, it has been here all the time).
There is more about Admiral’s non-hackable safe storage at http://www.archive-document-storage.co.uk/