Even the Amish are not exempt from government spying

With all the attention so far on the US government scooping up the electronic communication records (email, phone calls, internet use, etc.) of people around the globe, we could be excused for thinking that old-fashioned postal mail was the only thing that was safe from their prying eyes. It now turns out that even our snail mail is tracked by the government, something that a victim discovered by accident when he discovered a card that had been inadvertently placed in his mail that contained instructions that his mail was to be monitored.

Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, but that is only a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.

Together, the two programs show that snail mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail.

What will we find out next? That even our homes and public spaces are bugged? That the government maintains detailed dossiers on each one of us?



  1. grumpyoldfart says

    If I was a mailman reading that amateurish looking card I’d assume it was a workmate’s weird joke, toss it aside, and forget about it.

  2. wtfwhatever says

    Consider what we’ve learned about snail mail, phone calls, and email with respect to the oncoming storm of automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) devices whether mounted on cars, at onramps and offramps, at street corners, or just the use and collection of all that video we are now subject to.


    Jones “won” because a Gov’t GPS mounted on his own car was considered trespass. But the gov’t does not need GPS to track you. Just cameras on street lights.

    Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy is very well schooled on these topics, but sadly, from reading him during Jones, I get the impression he would think tracking you via ALPR and datamining is constitutionally allowable.

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