Thursday, July 4, 2013

Does the U.S. Postal Service read your mail?

The quick answer is no, unless a warrant is obtained.  However, the fact that both sides of your envelopes could be copied may be a worry for many. Here's a quote from an article in the July 3rd issue of the New York Times, titled “U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement.”

“In the past, mail covers were used when you had a reason to suspect someone of a crime,” said Mark D. Rasch, the former director of the Justice Department’s computer crime unit, who worked on several fraud cases using mail covers. “Now it seems to be ‘Let’s record everyone’s mail so in the future we might go back and see who you were communicating with.’ Essentially you’ve added mail covers on millions of Americans.”

Says a former FBI agent:

“Looking at just the outside of letters and other mail, I can see who you bank with, who you communicate with — all kinds of useful information that gives investigators leads that they can then follow up on with a subpoena.”

Two remedies, folks:  (1) Stay out of politics, and (2) use a ghost address as sender, for sensitive mail  Or, use no return address at all.

Link to the Times article:


  1. This is the same thing as 'metadata' that been talked about so much in the wake of the Snowden leaks....people can find out a great deal about you from this type of metadata...

  2. Note that they may not deliver your mail any more without some kind of return address. And make sure it at least looks real. There is a video on YouTube where someone used their YouTube username instead of a real name on a package they sent to someone else they only knew online. The post office called law enforcement and the local LEO delivered the package along with a lot of questions about what it contained and who sent it.


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