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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday October 29 2014, @01:56AM   Printer-friendly
from the out-of-band dept.

Ron Nixon reports in the NYT that the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations in many cases without adequately describing the reason or having proper written authorization.

In addition to raising privacy concerns, the audit questioned the efficiency and accuracy of the Postal Service in handling the requests. The surveillance program, officially called mail covers, is more than a century old, but is still considered a powerful investigative tool. The Postal Service said that from 2001 through 2012, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies made more than 100,000 requests to monitor the mail of Americans. That would amount to an average of some 8,000 requests a year — far fewer than the nearly 50,000 requests in 2013 that the Postal Service reported in the audit (PDF).

In Arizona in 2011, Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County supervisor, discovered that her mail was being monitored by the county’s sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Wilcox had been a frequent critic of Arpaio, objecting to what she considered the targeting of Hispanics in his immigration sweeps. Wilcox sued the county, was awarded nearly $1 million in a settlement in 2011 and received the money this June when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. Mr. Thomas, the former county attorney, was disbarred for his role in investigations into the business dealings of Wilcox and other officials and for other unprofessional conduct. “I don’t blame the Postal Service," says Wilcox, "but you shouldn’t be able to just use these mail covers to go on a fishing expedition. There needs to be more control.”

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  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Wednesday October 29 2014, @03:52AM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Wednesday October 29 2014, @03:52AM (#111050) Homepage

    Sheriff Joe is a dickhead, but exactly the kind of dickhead we need in Southern California, where there would be much popular support against the Brown Menace. Sheriff Joe also has a Latino-ey sounding last name, so he can recruit Hispanics who work and breed responsibly, and then leverage those few responsible Hispanics against the Brown Menace.

    American politicians love the Brown Menace because they are willing to accept poor living conditions(and as a result of their sheer fecundity drive the rest of the American population down to their level), be dependent upon the State for their needs, and constitute 25% of the consumers of trash Hollywood and television media (the consumption thereof is a matter of national security nowadays, which is why Homeland Security is getting into intellectual property cases). If American politicians and businesses had their way, all American citizens would cram 3 generations in 400 square feet of living space, be receiving government assistance for all 5 of each generation's illegitimate babies, all while the entire family props up the Jew controllers with their tax dollars and addictions to patronizing media and other paid-for distractionist escapism.

    Joe Arpaio for President!

    • (Score: 2) by mendax on Wednesday October 29 2014, @06:26AM

      by mendax (2840) on Wednesday October 29 2014, @06:26AM (#111059)

      Have you looked in the mirror lately? Either your funny button is broken or the shit in your brain is oozing out of your ears. I think the latter because I find what you wrote to be pretty offensive.

      It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29 2014, @03:22PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29 2014, @03:22PM (#111192)

        I haven't heard such a xenophobic rant since I buried my grandfather. Throw the antisemitism on top and you've really got a gut wrenching combo. He must be having an off day though, he forgot his usual sexual orientation slurs.

        The anti-politician and anti-holywood stuff fits here, if he could just get over his xenophobia. I vote that we relocate him to the slums of Mexico City for a few years so that he can learn that there is no menace.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29 2014, @01:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 29 2014, @01:52PM (#111146)

    The USPS. We stopped using them to the best of our ability years ago. We fedex even mundane things, and have found the service MUCH more reliable, and only slightly more expensive. This report is scathing. Many people should be fired. Not holding my breath. I really wish this agency wasn't routinely an embarrassment and blatant violator of civil rights, I really do. :(