The importance of trust

I’m thinking about filing a patent application, but before I do so I want to bounce my idea off of you to see if it’s viable. (I assume that none of you will steal my idea from me.)

Basically, I would like to patent what I am going to call the Bredemarket Important Delivery Execution Technology, or BIDET for short. The purpose of BIDET is to deliver important items from one entity to another, where a sending or receiving entity can be a person, a business, or a government agency.

I have designed BIDET with the following features:

  • The BIDET “envelope” that contains the important item will include, in cleartext, both the origin of the envelope and the destination of the envelope in an easy-to-read, unencoded format.
  • BIDET envelopes themselves will be easy to open (within less than one second), and will include features that allow the envelopes to be opened and closed again BEFORE arriving at their destinations.
  • A group of people will be entrusted with the transmission of BIDET envelopes from their origins to their destinations. This group of people will number approximately 600,000, any one of whom will have the technical capability to fully interact with the BIDET envelopes.
  • The BIDET “envelope” that contains the important item will include, in cleartext, both the origin of the envelope and the destination of the envelope in an easy-to-read, unencoded format.
  • BIDET envelopes themselves will be easy to open (within less than one second), and will include features that allow the envelopes to be opened and closed again BEFORE arriving at their destinations.
  • A group of people will be entrusted with the transmission of BIDET envelopes from their origins to their destinations. This group of people will number approximately 600,000, any one of whom will have the technical capability to fully interact with the BIDET envelopes.

So, what do you think of my idea? Does it sound like a winner?

Or does it sound like an insurmountable privacy nightmare? I mean, who would want to entrust financial information to a delivery service that hundreds of thousands of people can easily violate in less than a second?

Well, if you’re not already ahead of me, it turns out that hundreds of millions of people would entrust financial information to such a delivery service. After all, we’ve been doing this since the days of Benjamin Franklin, since what I described is not a “new” patent idea, but the actual operational model for the U.S. Postal Service.

Screenshot of Cliff Clavin from “Please Mr. Postman (episode 158, 1989). By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50708166

This thought occurred to me when I was reading this Valid LinkedIn post about its DMV@Home™ service that “gives residents the ability to perform safe, secure, and reliable digital transactions anytime, anywhere, and on a preferred device.”

And when I imagined the reaction of some people claiming that something like this would NEVER work.

Yet these same people receive all sorts of things by snail mail, including bank statements, credit cards (and credit offers), health records, voting registration information…and driver’s licenses.

But these people TRUST the U.S. Postal Service, or at least they trust the USPS more than they trust a smartphone app. Sure, there are the anecdotal stories of postal workers stealing mail, but that would never happen to me. Smartphone hacking, of course, definitely WOULD happen to me, because smartphones are mysterious things.

Now of course there ARE people who trust smartphone security more than they trust physical security. Without imposing a value judgement on one set of people over another, I can say that those who trust smartphone security feel that the risks of using smartphones are less than the risks of using physical methods.

So how long will it take until a supermajority of people TRUST digital delivery more than they trust physical delivery?

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