The USPS photographs the exterior of every piece of paper mail sent in the U.S.

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Did you know that the U.S. Postal Service uses a program called Mail Imaging? It takes a picture of the exterior of all mail sent in the United States. Mail Imaging’s main purpose is to help process the mail. But those images are stored and then can later be requested by law enforcement agencies. And according to a recent audit, the management of these requests is lackadaisical at best with improper requests being approved by the Postal Service.


So you’re thinking “so what, I’ve got nothing to hide?” If that’s your thought process, you should probably go ahead and read this ACLU article. It might help put things in perspective for you.

And remember, just because you think you have nothing to hide, that doesn’t mean that the information gathered can’t be used against you. Mary Rose Wilcox, a county supervisor and frequent critic of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio found herself a victim of this program which ultimately lost her a business contract, likely because Sheriff Arpaio went on a political fishing expedition. The New York Times article has more details of her story.


Or, let’s take a look at the Patriot Act. We were supposed to be trading our civil liberties to keep us safe from terrorists, right? But what it’s really being used for is the war on drugs. Even though polling this year shows Americans are increasingly for decriminalizing marijuana (what’s up DC & Oregon) and even Republicans favor treatment over incarceration. So why are we still fighting this war on drugs again? (This is another rant for another time.) And this is the perfect example of how giving up rights can be used in ways you did not intend or imagine.

Do you still think law enforcement's use of the Mail Imaging program is no big deal?

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