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Just Whose Business Is It?
Hacking, ID Theft, Data-Mining and Wholesaling. Your information, your finances, your life. And, you're the last to know.
- Binoculars & telescopes
- Cameras with telephoto lenses
- Small hidden cameras
- High-quality directional microphones
- Secret listening devices
- Electronic bugs for tracking people and things
You Are Outed!
Likely more folks have asked than not. People have shown interest in each other’s affairs since before they even had a way to catalog their findings. It must have been frustrating for those Early Man brains to remember all the details without a notebook.
Spying isn’t new. It’s often perceived as some deep-secret trade craft used on foreign operatives in an exotic locale. Well, take a look at that busybody on your street sometime, hiding just behind their curtains. They think of spying as watching you. The only real difference is that now there’s way cool equipment available; techie stuff that makes it easier, and more fun, to spy.
So this USPO scandal has recently come to light. But who better to keep watch on the mail since it travels through their facilities anyway? I address the outside of the envelope so it ends up properly delivered. If I wanted it kept secret I’d avoid a letter and relay my message by carrier pigeon, or just sneak off for a personal visit. Anyone using the Post Office must realize that correspondence moves through many hubs and many more workers on the way to its final destination. Not exactly a secret.
Data Collection Occurs Daily
- Credit card info tracked, amassed, and sold wholesale
- Personal preference info you've entered into online profiles
- Documents listing where you work, what you do, and whom with
- Favorite places you like to go, hobbies and events you've enjoyed
- Your political affiliation (or lack), contributions to organizations and groups
- Arrest record, convictions, even your name in "Officer Safety" alerts
- Hackers compromising your confidential information
- Public records of purchases and/or sales of property involving you
- Information linked with your unique Social Security Number
Under Constant Watch
Data Mining existed well before the World Wide Web. Government entities and think tanks initially engaged in it and it has mushroomed to include business and social applications.
Meanwhile, the science of security has exploded. It is possible to track your whereabouts using your cell phone, or identify you with facial recognition software as you unsuspectingly cross the street, and to even bombard you with sale offers predicated on your shopping history and delivered immediately to your smart phone upon your arrival at the store. Amazing!
If you weren’t aware of any of this, it’s no surprise; things happen quickly these days. And you probably didn’t even notice that little box you could’ve checked to opt you out of some of the info-sharing exercises with your credit and store accounts. It was, after all, in pretty small print.
Those not in the know go on about how the Social Security network will crumble in the coming years. I believe that SSN’s will be viable and remain in use until the absolute last minute when they are replaced by another “identity marker” that will collect our data together with a universal anchor/ID unique to every one of us.
How about a computer chip with our stats, including health info? Does anyone remember the call for a national driver’s license years ago? A format acceptable to the American public is still being sought, but don't blink.
Are You Really That Special?
Meanwhile, of the estimated 7 billion people on Earth, I’d imagine most of them have something to worry about other than the Post Office reading their envelopes. After all, no one really noticed the mail being scanned for years. And the practice has been helpful in identifying and prosecuting criminals using the mails illegally and even in harmful ways.
Now, some zeroes are hot under the collar because they think the USPO cares about who they’re corresponding with. Maybe it’s some whizzos with a self-inflated sense of importance. Perhaps it’s even the Republicans desperately still trying to unearth just one actual scandal to blame on Obama’s Administration. Or maybe it’s just some crazy craving attention. There is concern over this issue.
There will always be secrets, always be reason s for keeping them, and always be folks trying to discover them. Some secrets should be kept, some not. If you have any, keep them to yourself as long as doing so won’t harm anyone. Your secrets don’t belong in public so stop sending them through the mail. You’re an idiot to expect total privacy anyway. The only way to get that is to live alone and not communicate with anyone.
Are you the common man being victimized by this scandal? Get real. What could the Post Office have learned from your letters? That you used too much postage? Or you scribble like a 2-year-old? Maybe that you post lots of letters to a non-responsive entity. Whatever, it’s no big deal and no good squad will be knocking down your door at 2 a.m.
I remain unconcerned with the government, in general, or the US Postal Service, specifically, monitoring my personal communications. I am confident they will soon find more important issues to apply themselves to. And if someone, somewhere, has laughed at one of my envelopes, I’m glad to have been involved in their moment of levity. I didn’t notice any ill-effects at all.
Well, it's no secret what I think!
So Far, So What
So, there. Surveillance has been happening forever. It’s nothing new and, undertaken as it was on such a grand scale but with minimal intrusion by the USPO, it is nothing major. Given the world in which we live I’d guess our security needs will only cause an increase in information-monitoring and collecting in the future. Whatever secrets you divulge may not remain so. Get used to it modify your own behavior instead.
BTW, if any Post Office employee noted my mentioning a heist lately, pay no mind; it was just a play I’m working on, ‘K?