Are you kidding? How did we ever use this primitive technology for so long? And why are some people still using it? Every Thursday, CTS will highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly of technology from days gone by in our #TBT Technology blog. Enjoy reliving the good old days!
When they were invented: 1843
Purpose: Sending copies of physical documents over phone lines
Where they’re still used: Doctors’ offices, lawyers, the CIA (which demands the FOI requests be faxed, rather than mailed or sent online), people in Japan
Why they’re still used: Sometimes you have to send a paper document, and sometimes you have to send it where there is a phone line but no internet access. Faxing can also be more secure than email; faxes are hard to intercept because they are a direct communication from the sender to the receiver, while emails get moved through a central server. That means you need physical access to a specific phone line at just the right moment to intercept a fax instead of being able to just access the main server everything goes through. Though if it’s just left on the machine, a fax is particularly easy for any random person in the office to pick up. Nowadays, fax machines are most widely used in Japan, where 1.7 million fax machines were purchased in 2013 for use in for business transactions, restaurant orders, and other communication. — Popular Mechanics