Faxing a confidential document usually requires someone at the receiving end to wait protectively by their machine while each page stutters its way into view. A Pelham (N.Y.) startup named Kryptofax is out to change that with a patented scheme for visually encrypting documents.
Normally, fax machines break text and graphics down into a series of pixels, or tiny dots, that can be moved with great fidelity over phone lines as electronic 1s and 0s. The Kryptofax method, yet to be commercialized, would first have those pixels scrambled according to a secret password and printed on paper as a meaningless visual jumble. This could be done by a special fax-like machine or by software in a standard computer. The resulting pages, unreadable, could then be faxed normally to an unattended fax machine. Only someone with the right equipment and password could reverse the process and view the received document in full, fax-quality detail. Kryptofax is working to license its technology.