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Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science technical reports CMU CS 96 113 Cryptographic Postage Indicia J D Tygar and Bennet Yee and Nevin Heintze January 1996 CMU CS 96 113 School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh PA 15213 This research was partially supported by the US Postal Service The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies either expressed or implied of the U S Government Keywords cryptography franking electronic currency mail postage stamps electronic stamps secure coprocessors signatures Abstract We apply cryptographic techniques to the problem of fraud in metered mail We describe a mail system that combines off the shelf barcode technology tamper proof devices and cryptography in a fully integrated secure franking system This system provides protection against 1 Tampering with postage meters to fraudulently obtain extra postage 2 Forging and copying of stamps 3 Unauthorized use of postage meters and 4 Stolen postage meters We provide detailed justification for our design and discuss important tradeoffs involving scanning strategies encryption technology and 2 D barcode technology The US Postal Service recent Information Based Indicia Program IBIP 15 announcement adopted the principal design features of our model 1 Motivation The US Postal Service1 handles over 165 billion pieces of mail each year through almost 40 000 autonomous post office facilities Much of this mail is metered which means that the mail does not have an ordinary stamp attached to it Instead a postage meter prints a special mark called a postal indicia on the mail Fraud is a serious problem for the US Postal Service The US Postal Service recently calculated that meter fraud cheats the agency out of substantially more than 100 million each year 4 There are over 82 000 postage meters in the US that are currently reported as lost or stolen 14 The US Postal Service is

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