You may know of the online fax company called eFax, but did you know the name is also communications industry jargon meaning "a document sent as a conventional fax and then converted to and delivered to a consumer as an electronic mail attachment?" It's true, and the term "eFax" was an important part of an FCC decision last week. Since that definition was agreed upon, legislators have decided that eFax (the company) and competitors like Nextiva and FaxZero will be held responsible if they overstep any boundaries laid out by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The same applies to anyone sending faxes using those services. The TCPA and the Junk Fax Protection Act, which amends the former document, prohibit unsolicited advertisements transmitted by fax and other machines. Last friday, the FCC determined the prohibition applies to anyone "sending an unsolicited advertisement to a computer attached to a fax server or modem." An important question for eFax and competitors is whether they can be held accountable for infractions against the TCPA. To answer that question, the FCC said they can be if they "demonstrate a high degree of involvement in, or actual notice of, the unlawful activity." That answer came after a clarification of the term "fax broadcaster," which is an entity that delivers faxes on behalf of another person for a fee, such as eFax. Therefore, any fax broadcasters that share ad profits or other benefits with senders is affected. Although, the FCC hasn't commented on such an arrangement specifically. In addition, fax senders must provide a clear notice, to all recipients, that they may opt out of all future fax transmissions from the sender. Much like email communications recipients, fax recipients should be notified if advertisements will be sent to them. At that point, they should be able to opt out.
Have you ever had to send a fax? You might be reading this and wondering what a fax is. If you're reading this and over the age of 20, there is a good chance that you've heard of faxing. If you're under that age and reading this then get out a notebook and pen for this lesson on ancient American history. Fax machines are a technology that is over 50 years old and is still being used today. We tend to see trends of technology where something is very popular because it enhances the way things are done in business, but then they usually become obsolete because of new technology. It is a pattern that has occurred for centuries and so it makes us wonder why faxing machines haven't died off. Well here are a few reasons why. 1. Doctors Documents that need to be transferred from one doctor to another can be very confidential. It is much more difficult for a document to be intercepted through fax than it is through email. This compliance is taking place because of the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). According to an article by Christopher Null from PCWorld, the Director of HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), Lee Kim said, "a document which is being sent via fax is difficult to intercept if sent over an analog telephone line, as this requires special equipment. On the other hand, an unencrypted email may be easier to intercept in transit by eavesdropping on the network." 2. Anyone That Still Uses a Phone Book Faxing for people or businesses that still use phone books is useful because phone books will have fax numbers listed for certain businesses. Therefore it is easier for businesses that need to send faxes to other businesses to look up the fax number in a phone book and get it to the right location. 3. Print. Sign. Scan. Email. Wait For Confirmation. Believe it or not, faxing a document actually eliminates a few steps when you need to get a document back to someone signed. Printing a document, signing it, scanning it, attaching it to your email, sending the email, waiting for the recipient to get the email, then they would then have to print it out again. Seems like a lot of work. That's why faxes still come in handy every once in awhile because they eliminate those steps by just having you receive the document, signing it, and faxing it back. Yes, fax machines are still alive and kicking today but there has been a small revolution to make them even more effective. It's called online faxing. Online faxing allows users to subscribe to a service and send faxes as a PDF attachment through their email, to a fax machine. It reduces the hassle of you needing to purchase a fax machine to send documents to someone that only uses faxes to send important documents. You can check out bestcompany.com/Online-Fax to see reviews of some of the top online fax companies out there.