US Post Office Tracks Everything – 160 billion letters per year are being scanned

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When ricin-laced letters were sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama, the FBI used a secret program to track down the sender. It’s called the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program. Through it, U.S. Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail – last year, it scanned 160 billion pieces.

What began in 2001 after the Anthrax letter incident, has expanded to now track everything ever mailed. They can now go back and call up everything you ever mailed and to who it was delivered. The NSA is doing the same thing with its storage of all phone calls and emails. At the end of the day, anyone who the government suddenly wants to look at everything they mailed, sent by email, or made a phone call is now tucked away for life.

This has gone far beyond terrorism. This can now be used for tax audits or anything else they want to investigate. Perhaps love notes or payments to prostitutes. Whatever dirt they can pull up on anyone is now available for anyone in government.

The loss of privacy has tremendous implication for the economy because trade secrets and patents are also no longer secret. Just as government bribed staff in banks to turnover lists of depositors, you can bet the same thing works in reverse where others can bribe government workers to get a hold of files on you or your company. This is the downside of 100% surveillance. Instead of creating a synergy of economic cooperation, what evolves is secrecy and fragmentation. This contributes to the economic decline and has a direct correlation to the economic decline of empires, nations, and city-states.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/us/monitoring-of-snail-mail.html