Corporate registry services for incarcerated people are expected to be made available to them starting this week, as part of a plan to allow them to use encrypted email services such as Gmail, as well as email for personal use.
The U.K.-based International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) will start providing email services for inmates in the U.N. and European Union, which includes Britain, on Wednesday.
The move is the first of its kind for corporate clients of the United Nations, a decision the company said was driven by “security concerns” and concerns for “national security.”IBM, which is based in Silicon Valley, is the largest corporate IT service provider for the United States and is a member of the U-N.A.
In the past, companies like IBM, Dell and Microsoft have provided email services to U.
Ns, but IBM has been pushing for years to have a centralized, open-source system for communications between prisoners and their families and loved ones.IBM also has partnered with several other companies to provide email services, including the Ugly Company, which provides email for prisoners, and iHeartMedia, which also offers private email for inmates.
The latter is run by a company called the Unexpectedly Awesome Company, named for the Unexplained Awesomeness Network, a charity that provides free online education to incarcerated people.IBMS has also partnered with companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft to offer email services.
But IBM is the only major IT service providers to offer such a service for prisoners.IBMI’s announcement comes as the Uruguay government has begun a crackdown on the use of encrypted email, with the arrest of over 150 people and a prison lockdown that lasted more than two weeks.
In March, a court in Uruguay ruled that the use in private email is against the law and the prison should be closed for good.IBI and other tech companies have been criticized for failing to address the privacy concerns of inmates who use encrypted communications.
U. N. member states have also been pushing to require encryption on all email services in the future.