Is the US Post Office Watching You?
As online sellers, the majority of our business is dealing with shipping services, and primarily with the US Postal Service. This is especially true during the holiday seasons from October through January.
What you may not be aware of, is US Postal Offices have began video recording your vehicle license plates and doing facial recognition scans. Does this alarm you? It should! Especially when no one in the US Postal Inspection Department is fessing up to what happens to those images, who sees them, what government agencies have access to this information, and merely that they are not providing legal disclosure regarding their covert actions.
What may strike you as even more unusual is that postal supervisors who manage the inner activities within local post offices are unaware or not admitting to knowing about the presence of these hidden cameras that have been covertly planted outside and around their branch.
News station Fox31 in Denver, Colorado was the first to discover, expose and begin investigating these hidden cameras. (Visit Fox31)
It's bad enough that the NSA has collected all the cell phone data from every Verizon phone customer in America (See EFF Petition), but now we have to worry about the US Postal Service Inspectors too.
Quoted across the web, an attorney for the EFF made the following statements, regarding the use of spy cameras at our post offices.Lee Tien, is an attorney for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation. He has been quoted across the web as stating;
“Part of being a responsible, constitutional government is explaining why it is doing surveillance on its citizens. The government should not be collecting this kind of sensitive information. And it is sensitive! It`s about your relationships, your associations with other people, which can be friendship or political or religious. The idea that we give up that privacy simply because we use the U.S. mail is, I think, a silly idea."Lee also said, “The idea that they would be able to keep that information forever and search through it whenever they want to - that seems very, very wrong to us because it means you’ll be able to accumulate over time a lot of innocent peoples’ information and then use it in the kinds of ways that would not be overseen by any kind of court or independent third party.”
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) is an organization that fights for the protection of privacy rights, free speech, and your rights as an online seller on the Internet.
These are not the typical cameras you expect to see within the US Post Office buildings either. These cameras are specifically hidden and set-up to record your vehicle license plates and your face as part of a government surveillance program.
Want to know more about your rights to privacy in the United States of America? You may be surprised, that despite what you have heard over your life time, the US Constitution and Bill of Rights does not explicitly guarantee a right to privacy, but instead is based on the US Supreme Courts interpretation of two articles in the Bill of Rights. To some degree, these two articles provide the right to privacy in certain circumstances, but do you know which ones? Check out what the ACLU says about your rights to privacy.
So, what do you do? Well, if it concerns you, you might want to take advantage of your local postal worker who already delivers your mail.
As an online seller, you should also already know that you can schedule a pick up for those US Priority Mail packages too, via the USPS website. You could also just wear the anti-Facial Recognition masks created by Leo Selvaggio of URME (See video below)
Originally started as an Indiegogo Campaign as shown in the video, you can now actually purchase one of these tools online at the URME website,
It's a sad day when the government begins being that micro-managing former boss you once worked for, until you quit and began to work for yourself. Now you have a new micro-managing boss who has unlimited micro-managing resources!
So just download and "print in color" one of these anti-facial recognition free masks and save yourself a few dollars.
It may not prevent your car license plate from being recognized, but your face will look like thousands of others. Want to be creative? Make a color copy of someone else's license plate and tape it over the one on your car, right before you enter the US Post Office driveway. Just remember to remove it after you leave. I imagine it would be an amusingly difficult circumstance to explain in the event you forget to remove the paper plate and a police officer just so happens to pull you over on the way home.
Whoever thought this would become a reality, and while it doesn't affect the majority of people in the USA who never or rarely go to a post office, it puts online sellers directly in front of what may actually be an illegal invasion of privacy.