Post Office Wants to ID the Mail
By Ryan Singel
02:00 AM Oct. 27, 2003 PT
Sending a letter may soon require more than a 37-cent stamp. It might also require a valid photo ID.
A small change in labeling requirements for bulk mailings announced Oct. 21 requires bulk mailers to identify themselves on the outside of the envelope with a valid address. This marks the first step in the Postal Service's desire to create "intelligent mail."
The Postal Service issued the proposal in response to recommendations in a July report (PDF) written by the President's Commission on the United States Postal Service.
The outside commission urged the Postal Service to become more like a private business and to take steps to improve security in the wake of the anthrax letter attacks of 2001 that killed five people and contaminated postal facilities and Senate offices.
"The Postal Service, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, should explore the use of sender identification for every piece of mail," said the Commission's report.
That frightens civil liberty advocates, such as Chris Hoofnagle, deputy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
"People should be able to send an anonymous letter to the editor or an anonymous love letter," said Hoofnagle. "That shouldn't be lost for questionable gains in security."
The President's Commission report, subtitled "Making Tough Choices to Preserve Universal Mail Service," dismissed such concerns, saying that most people wouldn't mind sacrificing anonymity for national security.
Ever hear of fake ID's?
posted by Steve @ 2:24:00 AM