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Another invasion of privacy

Pics of your mail

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#1 Rum Runner

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 02:47 PM

Just when the NSA bullshit dies down a new invasion of privacy comes up.  Don't think that the NSA guys don't know about this.

 

 

AP Interview: USPS takes photos of all mail
04e1-US-Postal-Mail-Photos-AP-Interview.

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe poses with next to a portrait of Benjamin Franklin,...

ANDREW MIGA, AP
Fri Aug 2, 10:35 AM UTC

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Postal Service takes pictures of every piece of mail processed in the United States — 160 billion last year — and keeps them on hand for up to a month.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the photos of the exterior of mail pieces are used primarily for the sorting process, but they are available for law enforcement, if requested.

The photos have been used "a couple of times" by to trace letters in criminal cases, Donahoe told the AP on Thursday, most recently involving ricin-laced letters sent to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"We don't snoop on customers," said Donahoe, adding that there's no big database of the images because they are kept on nearly 200 machines at processing facilities across the country. Each machine retains only the images of the mail it processes.

"It's done by machine, so there's no central area where any of this information would be," he said. "It's extremely expensive to keep pictures of billions of pieces of mail. So there's no need for us to do that."

The images are generally stored for between a week and 30 days and then disposed of, he said. Keeping the images for those periods may be necessary to ensure delivery accuracy, for forwarding mail or making sure that the proper postage was paid, he said.

"Law enforcement has requested a couple of times if there's any way we could figure out where something came from," he said. "And we've done a little bit of that in the ricin attacks."

The automated mail tracking program was created after the deadly anthrax attacks in 2001 so the Postal Service could more easily track hazardous substances and keep people safe, Donahoe said.

"We've got a process in place that pretty much outlines, in any specific facility, the path that mail goes through," he said. "So if anything ever happens, God forbid, we would be able very quickly to track back to see what building it was in, what machines it was on, that type of thing. That's the intent of the whole program."

Processing machines take photographs so software can read the images to create a barcode that is stamped on the mail to show where and when it was processed, and where it will be delivered, Donahoe said.

The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was cited by the FBI on June 7 in an affidavit that was part of the investigation into who was behind threatening, ricin-tainted letters sent to Obama and Bloomberg. The program "photographs and captures an image of every piece of mail that is processed," the affidavit by an FBI agent said.

Mail from the same mailbox tends to get clumped together in the same batch, so that can help investigators track where a particular item was mailed from to possibly identify the sender.

"We've used (the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program) to sort the mail for years," Donahoe said, "and when law enforcement asked us, 'Hey, is there any way you can figure out where this came from?' we were able to use that imaging."

Associated Press



#2 Tom Ray

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 02:52 PM

My expectation of privacy for stuff I write on the outside of an envelope is zero.

 

Not coincidentally, that's the current reading on my Outrage-O-Meter.



#3 JMD

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 02:55 PM

My expectation of privacy for stuff I write on the outside of an envelope is zero.

 

Not coincidentally, that's the current reading on my Outrage-O-Meter.

Same.  

 

Absent the USPS reverting to sorting mail by hand, I'm not sure how else we would avoid having a machine take pictures of mail.



#4 LenP

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:02 PM

this one is a non-issue for me as well.



#5 Regatta Dog

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:19 PM

Me 3.  Unlike the NSA, the USPS developed the technology for scanning and sorting mail and were on the cutting edge of OCR wrt handwriting.  If they opened and scanned mail content, that'd be as invasive as NSA keeping e-mail content and cause for concern.



#6 d'ranger

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:44 PM

I remember when the AP was actually a news source. 



#7 LenP

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:50 PM

I remember when the AP was actually a news source. 

 

What's a news source? Is that like a tweet?



#8 Rum Runner

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:36 PM

This is just another step towards the government gathering more and more information about our personal activities.  Who says the data will be kept for only 1 month?  Some day Obama or his successor may decide that this information should be kept for a longer period of time.  Next you have the post office sharing it with others like the NSA, IRS or FBI.

 

I'm just saying this is a slippery slope we are on.  It starts with something little like photographing your mail and can escalate very quickly.

 

Maybe I'm getting older but Rand Paul makes more sense to me every day. 



#9 Regatta Dog

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:49 PM

This is just another step towards the government gathering more and more information about our personal activities.  Who says the data will be kept for only 1 month?  Some day Obama or his successor may decide that this information should be kept for a longer period of time.  Next you have the post office sharing it with others like the NSA, IRS or FBI.

 

I'm just saying this is a slippery slope we are on.  It starts with something little like photographing your mail and can escalate very quickly.

 

Maybe I'm getting older but Rand Paul makes more sense to me every day. 

 

That horse has left the barn.



#10 zzrider

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:01 PM

Yeah we're already waaaaay past the point where photographing the outsides of snail mail matters.  Big Brother is way beyond that in knowing exactly what we do and when, where, and how we do it.



#11 Mark K

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 09:52 PM

 The sad thing? Even Rand Paul wants the government to use Predator UAV's on Americans suspected of crimes.  

 

 



#12 dash34

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:11 PM

Just to make sure you don't forget how well Big Brother is protecting you, many US embassies are closing and US citizens are being warned about travel abroad...  All attributed to a "credible threat" from Al Qaeda, but of course they can't give you any details...

 

Translation:  We're going to keep spending your tax dollars to watch you, don't forget to be afraid of terrorists, that helps justify what we are spending, and don't forget to be fearful of all foreigners everywhere.   Don't even think about reducing the NSA or military budgets or you won't be safe from all these threats.



#13 jerseyguy

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:44 PM

I have a wife, children, and grandchildren.  I haven't had any expectation of privacy for close to 40 years. 

 

;)



#14 Mark K

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:47 PM

Just to make sure you don't forget how well Big Brother is protecting you, many US embassies are closing and US citizens are being warned about travel abroad...  All attributed to a "credible threat" from Al Qaeda, but of course they can't give you any details...

 

Translation:  We're going to keep spending your tax dollars to watch you, don't forget to be afraid of terrorists, that helps justify what we are spending, and don't forget to be fearful of all foreigners everywhere.   Don't even think about reducing the NSA or military budgets or you won't be safe from all these threats.

 

 More like "if you are going to use attacks on US embassy's as an excuse to make up lies to attack the State Dept and the President with, then we will cover our asses."  

 

 Look up the Reagan/Bush teams statements about the Iran embassy crisis for comparison. Those two guys had a sense of honor, a tad of integrity, and most of all...a fucking clue.     



#15 Tom Ray

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:21 PM

 The sad thing? Even Rand Paul wants the government to use Predator UAV's on Americans suspected of crimes "when an active crime is going on."

 

 

 

 

Corrected to align with reality.

 

Always have to embellish the facts a bit, don't you Mark? Can't just argue against what he actually said?
 



#16 d'ranger

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:30 PM

Uh, what he said was "if some guy comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 I have no problem if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.  "

 

Fuck due process, just shoot the fucker in the head.  If it turns out to be some punk with a fake gun who was obviously high on Purple Drank then that's just one less punk running around robbing people.  If it happens to be the store clerk or a customer hostage, then they shouldn't have been in a liquor store in the first place. 

 

better? 



#17 Regatta Dog

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:31 PM

Just to make sure you don't forget how well Big Brother is protecting you, many US embassies are closing and US citizens are being warned about travel abroad...  All attributed to a "credible threat" from Al Qaeda, but of course they can't give you any details...

 

Translation:  We're going to keep spending your tax dollars to watch you, don't forget to be afraid of terrorists, that helps justify what we are spending, and don't forget to be fearful of all foreigners everywhere.   Don't even think about reducing the NSA or military budgets or you won't be safe from all these threats.

 

The fear factor has been a major theme from both parties for years.  Everything from fear of another 9/11 to fear of seniors having to choose between medicine and food.  What is relatively unique here is that there doesn't appear to be a left or right side in opposition.  This is not a partisan issue because everyone with an e-mail address is involved regardless of party, race, age, income, etc.

 

The Fed claims it can protect us from terrorists and Bloomberg says he can protect us from high blood pressure and obesity.  All we they have to do is give government take more control of our lives. 



#18 Tom Ray

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:37 PM

Uh, what he said was "if some guy comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 I have no problem if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.  "

 

Fuck due process, just shoot the fucker in the head.  If it turns out to be some punk with a fake gun who was obviously high on Purple Drank then that's just one less punk running around robbing people.  If it happens to be the store clerk or a customer hostage, then they shouldn't have been in a liquor store in the first place. 

 

better? 

 


Brandishing a gun is a crime. Witnessing it would be witnessing a crime, not merely suspecting one. The intent of the quote was clearly not suspected crimes, which is why I used his actual words, "when an active crime is going on."

 

If you want to believe Mark's fantasy version in which he was talking about suspected crimes, go right ahead. I prefer his actual words to Mark's interpretation.



#19 Regatta Dog

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:42 PM

Uh, what he said was "if some guy comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 I have no problem if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.  "

 

Fuck due process, just shoot the fucker in the head.  If it turns out to be some punk with a fake gun who was obviously high on Purple Drank then that's just one less punk running around robbing people.  If it happens to be the store clerk or a customer hostage, then they shouldn't have been in a liquor store in the first place. 

 

better? 

 

Better yet - try and tie that concept to the OP.  The Government will mandate that everyone be implanted with a GPS tracking chip for the safety of liquor store owners.  Your position will only be accessed when you rob a liquor store so the drone can take you out. 

 

Trust your government.  This is in our best interest as a nation.  Line up for your GPS chip! 

 

If we can save just one liquor store owner....



#20 Mark K

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:49 PM

 The sad thing? Even Rand Paul wants the government to use Predator UAV's on Americans suspected of crimes "when an active crime is going on."

 

 

 

 

Corrected to align with reality.

 

Always have to embellish the facts a bit, don't you Mark? Can't just argue against what he actually said?
 

 

  There is no difference. You have also forgotten he staged a filibuster until Holder promised to NEVER use one just two weeks prior to making that statement, so you missed the point.  



#21 Sol No-Ebola Rosenberg

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:52 PM

Outrageous outrage alert!

#22 Tom Ray

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:55 PM

Is that what happened, Mark? Usually, the Christian Science Monitor is more accurate.

 

But Senator Paul’s unusual maneuver – actually talking for hours on end, and not just threatening to filibuster – has had an immediate effect on a key issue that many lawmakers (and many voters) find troubling: the use of unmanned drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists, including, potentially, US citizens on US soil.

Forced to respond, Attorney General Eric Holder in a three-line letter to Paul Thursday addressed what had been posed by Senate Republicans as a constitutional question: "Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?"

“The answer to that question is no,” Mr. Holder, wrote – at long last, in the view of his critics. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Holder would only say that killing a hypothetical suspected American terrorist on US soil who poses no immediate threat would be “inappropriate.”

Holder’s letter satisfied Paul.

 

I don't see any promise there, just a question and answer about authority.

 

A person who poses no immediate threat is different from a person brandishing a gun because of the whole brandishing a gun thing.



#23 Mark K

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 12:22 AM

Is that what happened, Mark? Usually, the Christian Science Monitor is more accurate.

 

But Senator Paul’s unusual maneuver – actually talking for hours on end, and not just threatening to filibuster – has had an immediate effect on a key issue that many lawmakers (and many voters) find troubling: the use of unmanned drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists, including, potentially, US citizens on US soil.

Forced to respond, Attorney General Eric Holder in a three-line letter to Paul Thursday addressed what had been posed by Senate Republicans as a constitutional question: "Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?"

“The answer to that question is no,” Mr. Holder, wrote – at long last, in the view of his critics. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Holder would only say that killing a hypothetical suspected American terrorist on US soil who poses no immediate threat would be “inappropriate.”

Holder’s letter satisfied Paul.

 

I don't see any promise there, just a question and answer about authority.

 

A person who poses no immediate threat is different from a person brandishing a gun because of the whole brandishing a gun thing.

 

     That wasn't the question he asked Holder in the committee hearing.  Seems total accuracy is needed....sometimes....  



#24 Tom Ray

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 01:08 AM

Then by all means quote the question you want to talk about.

No, I don't mean spin up your version and provide no source like usual. Quote and cite. You may learn to like it.




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