dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
2475
share rss forum feed


WinstonSmith

@risltd.com
reply to Blackbird

Re: USPS photographs all mail

said by Blackbird:

That is the billion dollar issue, isn't it? However, when one ponders what has happened on several occasions in the relatively modern world's history, there is demonstrated precedent for the employment of such "tools" to implement gross abuses of power... or at least, the use of such tools as were available at the time.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has outlined for all time how things unfolded when the Soviet system arose and was dominant for years... how a citizen just having talked with a "suspicious" person, once that was determined by KGB, often led to a one-way ticket to the Gulag or a bullet to the head at the Lubyanka. Ditto for what occurred within Germany for years.

The difference, of course, is that we're not yet currently living in such a nasty political scenario here. But I have a growing concern over the accumulation of such capabilities within arms of the government and the effect that will ultimately have on our current political scenario. As the potential power of such technology and databases grows within branches of the government, what meaningful restraints against their misuse are growing in parallel? I see very few such restraints on misuse being put in place, just as I see little popular appreciation of the dangers that are approaching.

When does the sheer ability of a government to technologically monitor its citizens become a rationale for those in power to actually go ahead and do it in order to control them and stifle dissent? That may be a finer line than we imagine... and if it is, that point may be closer than we imagine.

Your mention of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn brings to mind the Politburo's problem of what was to be done about Solzhenitsyn when his book "The Gulag Archipelago" was published in the West and was a source of great embarrassment to the Soviet government. The options of further imprisonment or internal exile were considered.

But Yuri Andropov, then head of the KGB, was a lot smarter and shrewder than the others. His recommendation, which was adopted, was to simply kick Solzhenitsyn out of the USSR. This, of course, took the risk that Solzhenitsyn would be able to say whatever he wanted at any time, beyond the control of the Soviet government.

But Andropov was not worried. He knew that nobody in the West would truly understand what Solzhenitsyn was saying and that he would have little real impact if kicked out of the USSR, but far more if imprisoned or otherwise punished for his "anti-Soviet slanders".

This thread demonstrates just how shrewd an observer of human behavior Andropov really was.


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

said by WinstonSmith :

This thread demonstrates just how shrewd an observer of human behavior Andropov really was.

Yes, shrewd is a fitting adjective.
To quote Alexander Yakovlev:
"In a way I always thought Andropov was the most dangerous of all of them, simply because he was smarter than the rest."
Still though, I'd say Solzhenitsyn won that battle.


SJM3

@uwaterloo.ca
reply to StuartMW

Why don't we start screwing with the system? Start writing random characters on the back of the envelopes you mail? Or encrypt the 4th amendment and print that on the back of the envelopes?



Blackbird
Built for Speed
Premium
join:2005-01-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

said by SJM3 :

Why don't we start screwing with the system? Start writing random characters on the back of the envelopes you mail? Or encrypt the 4th amendment and print that on the back of the envelopes?

I'm not sure how much that would accomplish in cluttering the system. The way metadata like this is used is by tracking and piecing together a network of communications for targets of interest along with a timeline, rather than constantly studying the world as a whole. That is, while everything gets saved in the database, only things of interest related to specific targets (be they persons or terminologies) get accessed from the database by the analyst (be he human or machine). In the case of envelopes, the only things likely to be searched in the mail database are addresses to/from and postmarks since it's extremely unlikely that any text/messages of import will be written on the outside of the envelope (unless, of course, one is dealing with a postcard which has no envelope). The whole point of a person using an envelope is to obtain a measure of privacy for what is within.
--
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” A. de Tocqueville


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

2 edits

said by Blackbird:

The whole point of a person using an envelope is to obtain a measure of privacy for what is within.

For sure there was a time when that would have more true than not but today I don't see that as the primary use of an envelope.
In my own usage I see outgoing mail containing statements simply because the software is formatted for a #10 envelope.
My outgoing mail also uses an envelope to contain checks along with the 'return this part' of associated statements received.

My incoming mail usually consists of various statements or solicitations contained within a #10 envelope for the same reasons my statements are sent within a #10 envelope.
Although some mail require a degree of privacy, e.g., medical bills, banking statements, IRS matters etc... the Gov't is not going to find anything about me that they didn't already know by imaging an envelope from the IRS to myself.

In 2013 I just don't get the imminent threat from imaging my payment to my cable provider.

Now if we were talking strictly about whether the G'ovt should be doing this across the board that's a different matter.
Thinking about it, the imaging of UPS/FedEx covers would far more invasive since they usually don't contain unsolicited/mundane content.
Would I be surprised to learn the G'ovt images these covers?
Not with UPS, it would explain the delays I usually encounter.

EDIT: I see the envelope as a "container" used to hold the contents vs privatizing the contents.


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to Link Logger

said by Link Logger:

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?

this,
nothing new
--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--


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

said by AVD:

said by Link Logger:

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?

this,
nothing new

Yes, I'm sure from an operational POV the scanning serves a legit purpose.
The controversy is about whether this data should be shared with other agencies for spying purposes on US citizens.

Personally I don't it as a threat but that doesn't mean I endorse it.
IMO, the resources could be put to better use elsewhere (especially in areas that don't carry such controversial PR baggage.)