Careful With a Return Address
by Bill Rounds
How to Vanish http://www.howtovanish.com/
For several years now the United States Postal Service photographs every letter. The photograph and bar codes are most likely used for routing the letters. But knowing both the sender and receiver of correspondence allows inferences to be made. Additionally, this information is in plain view, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy and no warrant is required.
Based upon reliable infromation from a USPS employee it appears the system for photographing letters involves three steps.
First, only the front of the envelope is photograph and a light colored color bar code is sprayed on the back.
Second, the photograph is transmitted to a remote site where non-USPS employees at terminals input the letter’s bar code.
Third, a second machine reads the light colored bar code on the back and then sprays on a regular dark colored bar code on the lower front of the envelope. However, if the letter is bar coded, such as from a utility company, then it likely will not be bar coded again.
Fourth, while the duration for storage of the photograph is not known it is likely less than a week.
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