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Published On: Thu, Jul 4th, 2013

Post Office computers are taking pictures of your mail

On the heels of the Edward Snowden National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance leaks, another government surveillance program is being revealed to a citizenry who likely didn’t know this was happening.

Public domain image/Pbalson8204 at the wikipedia project

Public domain image/Pbalson8204 at the wikipedia project

The USPS has been for a number of years, taking photos of the snail-mail that is sent everyday, some 160 billion pieces in 2012, to retroactively track mail correspondence at the request of law enforcement.

The program, a formerly secret operation, is called The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) program. It was created in 2001 after the letter anthrax attacks killed five people during that post-9/11 era.

In addition to the above, the USPS also has a more low-tech program that is a century old called the mail covers program.

According to a Ron Nixon report in the NYTimes,  “At the request of law enforcement officials, postal workers record information from the outside of letters and parcels before they are delivered. (Opening the mail would require a warrant.) The information is sent to the law enforcement agency that asked for it. Tens of thousands of pieces of mail each year undergo this scrutiny.”

The MICT program did see daylight last month with the arrest of actress Shannon Richardson, who was indicted for sending  ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

According to Nixon’s report, the F.B.I. said a postal investigator was able to narrow the search by examining information from the front and back images of 60 pieces of mail scanned immediately before and after the tainted letters sent to Mr. Obama and Mr. Bloomberg showing return addresses near her home.

Computer security and information privacy expert Bruce Schneier told the paper, “Basically they are doing the same thing as the other programs, collecting the information on the outside of your mail, the metadata, if you will, of names, addresses, return addresses and postmark locations, which gives the government a pretty good map of your contacts, even if they aren’t reading the contents.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says:

    WELL, THANK YOU, Global Dispatch!

    IF Shannon Richardson SENT A Ricin letter TO THE KENYAN, THAT IS PROOF OF THE KENYAN’S SKIN COLOR BEING THE CAUSE OF PROBLEMS.

    NOW, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE LET James Everett Dutschke GO?

    I JUST HEARD ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN. RECENTLY, A NEGRO MALE “SHOT-UP” THE NAVAL YARD IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; AND, SOMEONE “SHOT-UP” A MALL IN NAIROBI, KENYA. AND, AFTER 31 MARCH 2014, Afrocentric blacks WILL BE FINED FOR NOT REGISTERING FOR AN Obamacare plan. Barack Hussein Obama IS THE “BAD CONNECTOR” FOR A-L-L OF THESE EVENTS.

    BY-THE-WAY, SINCE THE GOVERNMENT HAS SHUTDOWN, WILL FUNDS BE WASTED TO DETECT Ricin WITH POST-OFFICE COMPUTERS?

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  2. Post Office computers are taking pictures of your . . . | Datacentre Management . org says:

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