Skip to comments.U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement
Posted on 07/03/2013 11:34:28 AM PDT by mandaladon
WASHINGTON Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: A handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home. Show all mail to supv supervisor for copying prior to going out on the street, read the card. It included Mr. Pickerings name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word confidential was highlighted in green.
It was a bit of a shock to see it, said Mr. Pickering, who owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr. Pickerings mail but told him nothing else.
As the world focuses on the high-tech spying of the National Security Agency, the misplaced card offers a rare glimpse inside the seemingly low-tech but prevalent snooping of the United States Postal Service.
Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, but that is only a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Not to mention that little room in the basement where demoted NSA hacks steam them open.
ELF is a terrorist group. If he is/was a member I HOPE someone’s watching him.
Last Holiday season DHS was opening packages and taping them shut, except a few they left open.
From the article:
Basically they are doing the same thing as the other programs, collecting the information on the outside of your mail, the metadata, if you will, of names, addresses, return addresses and postmark locations, which gives the government a pretty good map of your contacts, even if they arent reading the contents, he said.
I haven’t put a return address on an envelope since I found out about “closed cover” monitoring in the 1970’s.
Can’t find a reference with a quick search, but IIRC the Nixon administration was having the post office record return addresses on letters directed to certain recipients.
Never give a government access to ANY information you wouldn’t give to your bitterest enemy.
Possible NJCT ping.
If he is/was a member I HOPE someones watching him.
Without a warrant? Or do you care about the Fourth Amendment?
If it is tax deductible, yes. Otherwise, no. If anything, put the address you are sending the mail to in the return spot, in case the handling equipment shucks the stamps off (has happened to me numerous times).
And why we don’t trust the USPS. Not only are they lazy incompetent rude buffoons, they are also spies.
Who said there is no warrant?
>>ELF is a terrorist group. If he is/was a member I HOPE someones watching him.
So you are in favor of the government spying on citizens without warrants unless its against you?
In the old days of Russia there used to be so many people listening to phone calls that the actual people talking had trouble hearing each other.
Sounds like were in a similar position, just with better technology.
One of the requirements for a warrant is it needs to be present to the person who is being searched.
Yes you can have secret warrants but eventually they are required to tell you.
>>Who said there is no warrant?
Who said there was?
My point is the poster assumes there was not.
Elf is a known terrorist group.
This was not Mr Kangaroo.
I have nothing against the government spying on known terrorists. That’s their job.
It is not their job to spy on every single American indiscriminately.
The list, Ping
Let me know if you would like to be on or off the ping list
Most “pre-sort” mail - like monthly bills and advertisements - is handled by sub-contractors, so it might not be digitally archived.
But most personal mail is coded by the USPS, and scanned on both sides, either by computer or by a remote CRT operator.
I know that gets archived for system analysis, but I don't know for how long.
Well that cinches it. Mr. I.P. Freely of 1060 W. Addison, Chicago, IL is going on my Christmas Card List...
When you think about it, a perfect way to monitor someone is with a fellow who’s job it is to show up at your house 6 days a week.
They are watching you now!
Did he keep that card?
This is no surprise. A government that monitors electronic communications is not going to let paper mail slip by.
There is no such thing as deleting a computer file. There are an unknown number of backups.
BTW, I don’t care.
Are the new ugly print-on-demand stamps at the USPS self-service kiosks part of the surveillance system? One of the numbers seems to identify the kiosk. Is the other linked to the credit card number of the buyer?
I got a card right here from TSA.
“We rooted through your stuff”
*Signed some low level TSA guy*
There are legal avenues to travel to circumvent this communism legally, Say I!
The United States Congress originally passed the PES in 1792, under powers granted it in the United States Constitution to “establish Post Offices and Post Roads”. The PES created a governmental monopoly on the carriage and delivery of letter mail, and ensured that this monopoly can be enforced. Today the USPS is empowered to suspend the PES, if it believes such a private postal service would be in the interests of the general public.
The PES consists of 18 U.S.C. §§ 16931696 and 39 U.S.C. §§ 601606, implemented under 39 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 310 and 320. These forbid all carriage and delivery of letter mail by private organizations, except as described in the next section. The PES only cover “letters” and not other mailable items such as parcels or periodicals.
“Extremely urgent” letters
In 1979 the Postal Service authorized the delivery of extremely urgent letters outside the USPS; this has given rise to delivery services such as Federal Express and UPS’s express mail services. These letters must either cost at least the greater of $3 or twice what First Class (or Priority) mail service would cost, or they must be delivered within strict time limits or otherwise lose value. They must be marked “EXTREMELY URGENT”. Records of pick up and delivery must be maintained for Postal Service inspection if the time sensitive exception is being used.
Lawful private carriage
It is possible to set up a private mail delivery service known as “lawful private carriage” if the USPS postage is paid in addition to any private postage fee that is collected. Records must be maintained that such postage has been paid, and it must be affixed to the letter cover by U.S. stamps, meter imprints or through another method approved by the USPS; the postage must be canceled by the sender in ink; the date of mailing must be affixed in ink to the cover (either by sender or carrier); and the letter cannot be removed without defacing the cover from the envelope or other container in which the letter is sent. An agreement must be entered into with the Postal Service to conduct volume private carriage through the Chicago Rates and Classification Service Center which has national responsibility for the PES.
Occasional private mail delivery
One does not need to establish a private mail delivery service for the occasional commercial transport of a letter outside the mails so long as the rate which would have been due to the USPS is affixed in stamps, the stamps are cancelled in ink, and the date of receipt by the carrier or the transport of the letter, are noted thereon. All these privately carried letters can bear a private cancellation if the cancellation is done in ink; private cancellations are different from private overprints on postage stamps.
Special messenger services
There are limited exceptions for special messenger services which deliver less than twenty-five letters for an individual or company per occasion. In such case no postage need be paid or affixed to the letters; pick up and delivery can be from private residences and commercial businesses.
The delivery of letters without compensation and without the affixation or payment of any postage is allowed under 39 CFR 310.3(c) by third parties, and under 39 CFR 310.3(b) for one’s own letters which includes regular employees only delivering company mail. Thus, it is not a violation of the PES if one delivers a letter of one’s friend even without affixation of postage or if a company has one of its regular employees deliver mail that originates from the company to its customers. Compensation is considered to include barter and goodwill. Thus an individual or business who receives a benefit for the delivery of letters does not fall under such a free carriage exception. For example, buying a friend dinner in exchange for having him deliver a letter is not considered without compensation; in such a case one would be required to affix and cancel a sufficient amount of postage to the letter. Another example not falling under this exception would be a business that is carrying letters “free of charge” in the hopes of building business or incidental to some other delivery as an accommodation for its customer; this use would also require the affixation and cancellation of a sufficient amount of postage to be in compliance with the PES.
There is an exception for the delivery of what otherwise would be considered a letter if it is sent with cargo and the letter is somehow incidental to the ordering, delivery or shipping of the cargo [39 CFR 310.3(a)].
Other exceptions to the PES include:
Letters that at some point during their pick-up or delivery had previously entered into the USPS mailstream, unless the letters are consolidated.
Letters addressed to specific persons that fall outside the purview of the PES.
Certain documents and objects that are not considered letters, even though containing a message.
===or1. send it on a cuneiform tablet marked as “Antique”
2. put coded messages in want ads of newspapers
3. send by semaphore or
4. smoke signals or
5. pigeons or
6. 3-d imprinted objects or
7. inside of fortune cookies
8. or on toilet paper
9. or a taxi service delivering passengers with tapes, dvd etc
10. or inside of a book as pages at book rate[cheap!]
11. or LOS tv camera or laser transmission with relay stations [12-22 miles per relay.
12. or by beer trucks containing messages in bottles
13. by individuals with duct-taped messages stuck to the inside wall of their cars and “stolen off’ by someone who came into the car. [non-delivery]
14. boxes of letters hand-carried onto trains as lap baggage
15. microstamping message on objects` interiors
16. put your address as the receiver and put the sender`s name on the top right hand corner and drop into mailbox with no postage
LOL - RON NIXON was able to fine ONE liberal being snooped on when there’s millions of conservatives who have to deal with that indignity? The New York Times has found a new low.
they are all in the new nsa data warehouse.
Be sure to include Mrs. Hugh Jass at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...
Its supposed to be archived for 31 days tied to the fluorescent ID tag on the rear.
All mail that is collected via mailbox is scanned on the front and back, not for sinister purposes but for computer automation/OCR ability. An AFCS 200 machine can process nearly 30,000 pieces of mail/hour. It scans it, determines the facing direction, cancels the stamp, sprays an ID tag on the rear for remote encoding purposes if the address can’t be OCRed, if it is, a barcode is sprayed on the front.
ALL presort mail is only scanned on the front by the DBCS processing machines, again, for automated sorting purposes. A DBCS 6 machine is capable of processing mail at 40,000 pieces/hour with this capability. With both OCR and barcode reading ability.
The intention was never sinister, but for raw speed and efficiency. The (supposed) 31 day archival was to allow for lost or delayed mailpieces to reenter the system and find their destination more quickly without going through manual sorting.
Your friendly, neighborhood, rightwing postal worker, who is not a member of the jerkwad union.
Funny they did not pick up all the IRS returns sent to the same address in NC that totaled over 4 million dollars. Seems Obama can’t even do that right.
A vendor I do business with has their own address in the return spot on their envelopes for mailing payment. I just decided I liked that idea after several pieces of mail were returned to me--ones which had the newer (at the time) stick-on stamps on them when they went into the box, but came back without the stamps.
rocker/u-dip] with FOREVER written on it. (I.E.
Yes we scan forever.)
I thought that was Hugh Janus ?
Gee, I wonder why. He was a member of ELF.
Those reports of DHS opening packages did not involve the Post office, but other shipments.
“Not to mention that little room in the basement where demoted NSA hacks steam them open.”
They cut them open. I was surprised to see wrong address National Day of Prayer invitations returned - all opened and apparently scrutinized.
In fact one was returned in late June that was placed in a envelope. It had been opened too.
Very wise advice!
freekitty ~:” Gee, I wonder why. He was a member of ELF.”
Oh Sure ! They are after the ‘little people’,.. the ‘wee folk’ !!
The next thing you know they’ll be after the Leprechauns , and the woods fairies ..
You know what ? .. That’s racist , that’s what it is !
Citizens for Mordor unite !
Frodo ,..where are you now that we need you .. ? /s
I didn't say that there was or wasn't. The post to which I was responding was without qualification on that topic. I was inquiring as to whether he approved of surveillance against ELF without one as the current tendency of the Feds is to operate without proper authorization, which was the allusion in the topic of the thread.
You are a wealth of information!
The word, ‘Behemoth’ comes to mind. Good point about the Post Office’s being broke.
“he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front”
He should be locked up for that alone.
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