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StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
Premium
join:2000-08-06
Galt's Gulch
kudos:2

1 recommendation

USPS photographs all mail

Just when you thought that some non-electronic forms of communication were safe from the NSA et al.

quote:
JUNE 7--A high-tech computer system that captures images of “every mail piece that is processed” by the United State Postal Service was critical in helping federal agents track...

»www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/···s-687435

Evidently if you want any privacy in the US you have to talk to no-one, email no-one, text no-one and send no-one a letter.

I'm off to my monthly meeting in a cave (probably bugged).

Carry on.
--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!

jeanmarc

join:2013-01-03
NY

You're not quite as old as I am but all this talk of eavesdropping reminds me of back in the day when every one used penny post cards and you and the mailman discussed the contents.

I remember calling a girfriend and she left the phone for a moment. I was muttering to myself when the operator exclaimed "I'm still here".

Why go to the effort of bugging a cave in the mountains when a drone can keep an eye on you..................and more.



Cartel
Premium
join:2006-09-13
Chilliwack, BC
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·TekSavvy DSL
·Shaw
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3 recommendations

reply to StuartMW

Click for full size
They stamp the envelope with secret ink too.


antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to StuartMW

said by StuartMW:

Evidently if you want any privacy in the US you have to talk to no-one, email no-one, text no-one and send no-one a letter.

I'm off to my monthly meeting in a cave (probably bugged).

Carry on.

Or off this planet called "Earf". ;P
--
Ant @ AQFL.net and AntFarm.ma.cx. Please do not IM/e-mail me for technical support. Use this forum or better, »community.norton.com ! Disclaimer: The views expressed in this posting are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.


jadinolf
I Love You Fred
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join:2005-07-09
Ojai, CA
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Reviews:
·DSL EXTREME

2 recommendations

reply to Cartel

said by Cartel:

They stamp the envelope with secret ink too.

Christmas? Yes, they sure took liberties.

I remember when you could mail a greeting card for 1 1/2 cents if you didn't seal the envelope.

I'm old? Darned tootin'
--
Printed on 100% recycled bytes


DataDoc
My avatar looks like me, if I was 2D.
Premium
join:2000-05-14
Martinsburg, WV
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to StuartMW

Back in the late 60s I subscribed to a board game fanzine called "Panzerfaust" It was mailed in an envelope but routinely it was delivered in a plastic bag with the envelope torn open, the cover pulled off, pages unstapled and with a sticker on the bag that read "Opened for Postal Inspection."

No Patriot Act back then.



chrisretusn
Retired
Premium
join:2007-08-13
Philippines
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to StuartMW

So they have a picture of my envelope, big deal.
--
Chris
Living in Paradise!!



Link Logger
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
Calgary, AB
kudos:3

2 recommendations

reply to StuartMW

Nice of them to take a picture of it before losing it

Reality is this is likely because of automation, or at least in my mind sorting would be automated such that a picture is taken of the package so the address/zip code could be OCR'ed and sorted automatically based on that. I would then think that the images are analyzed as to improve OCR, sorting and operational capabilities and the big deal is? USPS needs to increase/improve their operations as aren't they losing money by the bucket?

If the UPS was smart they offer this as a beneficial service to users of the UPS as they could use it for tracking and complain handling, then people would think this is the best thing since sliced bread.

Blake
--
Vendor: Author of Link Logger which is a traffic analysis and firewall logging tool

Expand your moderator at work

Shady Bimmer
Premium
join:2001-12-03
Northport, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to StuartMW

Re: USPS photographs all mail

Is there some form of privacy expected with anything on the outside of an envelope that is mailed via USPS?

What privacy is lost here? Before automation postal workers actually read the address on the outside of the envelope, so how is this different?



Ian
Premium
join:2002-06-18
ON
kudos:3

1 edit

said by Shady Bimmer:

Is there some form of privacy expected with anything on the outside of an envelope that is mailed via USPS?

What privacy is lost here? Before automation postal workers actually read the address on the outside of the envelope, so how is this different?

The difference is that before automation, the postal worker reading the address was doing so to determine where it should go. And they weren't retaining the information. They weren't compiling a database on who you sent mail to, cross-referenced with who else sent mail to that address for whatever reason, and kept for all time. Or maybe they were. In small towns, there may well have been nosy people keeping notes working for the post office.
--
“Any claim that the root of a problem is simple should be treated the same as a claim that the root of a problem is Bigfoot. Simplicity and Bigfoot are found in the real world with about the same frequency.” – David Wong


StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
Premium
join:2000-08-06
Galt's Gulch
kudos:2

said by Ian:

They weren't compiling a database on who you sent mail to, cross-referenced with who else sent mail to that address for whatever reason, and kept for all time.

+1

I bet all this data goes right to Bob as well.
--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!

GuruGuy

join:2002-12-16
Atlanta, GA
reply to StuartMW

So don't put a return address on it. No tracking...
--
GuruGuy



StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
Premium
join:2000-08-06
Galt's Gulch
kudos:2

1 edit

I've deliberately left my return address off mail before. That said there is still some, although incomplete, tracking. There's the postmark of the initial processing post office plus all the USPS facilities between that and the addressee.

Also as already stated mail to you probably has a return address or other identifying info which just adds to Bob's database.
--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!



JustBurnt

@rr.com
reply to StuartMW

Wow, we got some real paranoid people out there ... None of ya'll use credit cards, debit cards, or shopper's cards right?

Not to mention advertising your license plate on your vehicle for all to see.

You know the your cable company knows what channels you watch on TV if you use a STB, and your Internet provider knows what sites you go to. RIGHT?

Some of ya'll would have had a seizure back in the days when EVERYONE'S name, address, and phone number was listed in a big book given out for FREE from the phone company every year.

WHAT privacy is breached by knowing who sent something to me?



Snowy
Premium
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Kailua, HI
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Reviews:
·Clearwire Wireless
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said by JustBurnt :

Wow, we got some real paranoid people out there ...

Nice avatar!
Not that I disagree with you on all that but the free white book didn't include my age, race, SSN, sexual orientation, political views, education level, my favorite uncles name, my first teachers name (Marianne, when I was ~15 ), income level, medical history, club memberships, how many Lbs of beef consumed /yr, number of pets in household, my opinion of Justin Bieber, what day of the week I'm more likely to commit a crime etc...

But yeah, the USPS imaging the covers of the mail it carries -
Not to add to any anxiety but did you know the cashier at a store sees & even touches what you are purchasing!

dave
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join:2000-05-04
not in ohio
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Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to JustBurnt

said by JustBurnt :

WHAT privacy is breached by knowing who sent something to me?

Sometimes it's not even 'who' sent it, but that it was sent at all.

The Domino's Theory.

But for a more serious answer, I think your question somewhat misses the point. The problem here is not that someone knows who sent one particular letter to you; they had that data as soon as there was a Post Office (or at least as soon as people started writing return addresses on mail). The point is that modern technological capability is capable of building up a fairly deep picture by combining vast numbers of seemingly insigificant data points.

To use an analogy, it's the difference between you showing up in the background of someone's holiday snapshot, and a camera following you around outside your house all day every day. No-one thought the former was a 'breach of privacy', but most people will think the latter is, even though it's the same basic action in both cases.


StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
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Galt's Gulch
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said by dave:

The point is that modern technological capability is capable of building up a fairly deep picture by combining vast numbers of seemingly insignificant data points.

Exactly. The NSA has supercomputers that can put all these small pieces of information ("metadata") together and built a very comprehensive picture of peoples lives.
--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!
Expand your moderator at work


Snowy
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Kailua, HI
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reply to StuartMW

Re: USPS photographs all mail

said by StuartMW:

said by dave:

The point is that modern technological capability is capable of building up a fairly deep picture by combining vast numbers of seemingly insignificant data points.

Exactly. The NSA has supercomputers that can put all these small pieces of information ("metadata") together and built a very comprehensive picture of peoples lives.

So that would look like
Alice receives a card from John on Valentines Day.
The following month John receives a billing statement from The Gonorrhea Clinic.
The following month John receives a billing statement from a divorce attorney.
Poor John

The imaging of these covers were totally transparent with no affect on either action or outcome, completely inert if you will.

What is the scenario you see that's the basis of your concern over the USPS imaging covers?

OZO
Premium
join:2003-01-17
kudos:2
reply to StuartMW

What is the point of keeping photos of all mails ever sent by everyone to everyone?

How those photos helped in this particular case (if any)? And why it's anyhow better than having one photo of the mail envelope, received at destination point?

Is it a paranoia on the government side flourishing without any concern about the budget money or is it an eventual implementation of campaign slogan - "Yes, we can"?
--
Keep it simple, it'll become complex by itself...



Snowy
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Kailua, HI
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Reviews:
·Clearwire Wireless
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said by OZO:

What is the point of keeping photos of all mails ever sent by everyone to everyone?

I don't have a clue but there are many things whose existence I don't understand but just because I don't understand something I don't automatically fear it.

I reserve the right to change opinion so I asked for an example of a problematic scenario for a better, more complete understanding of the situation.


Blackbird
Built for Speed
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join:2005-01-14
Fort Wayne, IN
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Reviews:
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reply to OZO

said by OZO:

What is the point of keeping photos of all mails ever sent by everyone to everyone?

How those photos helped in this particular case (if any)? ...

The same point as trying to record the number of every call placed to/from everyone to everyone. When somebody's name later pops up as a "person of interest" for whatever reason, the vast database is scanned and every one of his communication records becomes part of the person's file... who he called/mailed to, who he was called/mailed by, how often, what similarities exist amongst the contacts, who the contacts themselves called/mailed, etc, etc. A remarkably detailed picture of a person's personal "network" will usually emerge after competent traffic analysis... and that's a key way in which a bad-guy network can be mapped and traced upward.

If the information derived from traffic analysis produces results that lead to prosecution or counteractions against higher-ups in a bad-guy network, it will be very rare for revelations of such to ever see the light of day in a trial... the trials will be based on otherwise-collected evidence.

(I'm not arguing this is why the post office photographs mail, nor am I defending such practices - just explaining why such records might be of interest to 3-letter guys...)
--
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” A. de Tocqueville


Link Logger
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
Calgary, AB
kudos:3
reply to StuartMW

So they used a system to find someone who is now charged with committing a crime (and from the article sounds like she has confessed as well), and this would be bad how? The other question would be, if not for the tracking system at the USPS, how would they catch/stop someone from committing such a crime?

Blake
--
Vendor: Author of Link Logger which is a traffic analysis and firewall logging tool



Link Logger
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-29
Calgary, AB
kudos:3
reply to Snowy

said by Snowy:

Not that I disagree with you on all that but the free white book didn't include my age, race, SSN, sexual orientation, political views, education level, my favorite uncles name, my first teachers name (Marianne, when I was ~15 ), income level, medical history, club memberships, how many Lbs of beef consumed /yr, number of pets in household, my opinion of Justin Bieber, what day of the week I'm more likely to commit a crime etc...

I'm thinking that political views are hardly a secret as you only have to read people's postings in this forum to pretty much cut those in stone.

Blake
Not to mention some of those other items you listed.
--
Vendor: Author of Link Logger which is a traffic analysis and firewall logging tool


La Luna
RIP Lisa
Premium
join:2001-07-12
Warwick, NY
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to JustBurnt

said by JustBurnt :

Wow, we got some real paranoid people out there ... None of ya'll use credit cards, debit cards, or shopper's cards right?

Not to mention advertising your license plate on your vehicle for all to see.

You know the your cable company knows what channels you watch on TV if you use a STB, and your Internet provider knows what sites you go to. RIGHT?

Some of ya'll would have had a seizure back in the days when EVERYONE'S name, address, and phone number was listed in a big book given out for FREE from the phone company every year.

WHAT privacy is breached by knowing who sent something to me?

While not necessarily disagreeing with your statement, I find it ironic that you accuse others of being paranoid but choose to post anonymously yourself. Now who's paranoid?

Just something to consider.
--
The Alien in the White House

20,996 DEADLY TERROR ATTACKS SINCE 9/11


Snowy
Premium
join:2003-04-05
Kailua, HI
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Clearwire Wireless
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Blackbird

said by Blackbird:

said by OZO:

What is the point of keeping photos of all mails ever sent by everyone to everyone?

How those photos helped in this particular case (if any)? ...

The same point as trying to record the number of every call placed to/from everyone to everyone.

(I'm not arguing this is why the post office photographs mail, nor am I defending such practices - just explaining why such records might be of interest to 3-letter guys...)

Yes, of course there are potential 'legit' uses of the imaging.
What I've been unable to do is develop a rational scenario where the use or even abuse of the imaging is somehow a threat or abuse of power.
Maybe Safeway can abuse it by using it track down loyalty card members that have gone MIA?
»Re: How supermarkets get your data 150; and what they do with it


vaxvms
ferroequine fan
Premium
join:2005-03-01
Wormtown
kudos:3
reply to StuartMW

What will they learn from photos of the unending flow of AARP applications and call-for-discount-auto-insurance envelopes that come my way?
--
The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!


dave
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-04
not in ohio
kudos:8

1 recommendation

reply to StuartMW

New books.



StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
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join:2000-08-06
Galt's Gulch
kudos:2

1 recommendation

LOL

quote:
There's Waldo

and here are the names and identities of every single person on this page.

--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!