Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Mr Postman, look and see

As I've said before, the government has been spying on us our whole lives and then some. That includes monitoring our snail mail.
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.
Pickering was obstensibly targeted because he was formerly connected to ELF, the enviromental activists who specialize in vandalism of large scale commericial projects. The mail covers program used in this instance is over 100 years old. However, that's not the only mail capture at the disposal of our government.
The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in late 2001 that killed five people, including two postal workers. Highly secret, it seeped into public view last month when the F.B.I. cited it in its investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. It enables the Postal Service to retroactively track mail correspondence at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping.
Theoretically they still need a warrant to actually open your mail but it's useful to remember Bush issued a signing statement on this program alleging the President could decide to open mail without a warrant in emergency situations for national security reasons. No indication where President Obama stands on that point.

That aside, this program is no big secret and the courts have rejected all challenges to it so far, ruling there is no expectation of privacy for the outside of your mail. And so the surveillance state grows...


Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home