Technology with attitude

Your Mail Is Officially Not Safe


The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the Act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.

That’s one of the latest signing statement from President Bush. It basically means that the government can look at any piece of mail it wants without the need for a warrant.

What’s even better, the signing statement was hidden in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which Bush purports is, “designed to improve the quality of postal service for Americans and to strengthen the free market for delivery services.”

I’m growing so weary of this nonsense. With these signing statement, Bush has created hundreds of de facto “laws” that nobody has to approve and few even know about. This is just seems flat out wrong. But hey, anything for the promise of an unprovable bit of safety, right?

And just in case you think this is a new thing…think again

A retired Kansas University professor says the federal government has been poking into the mail he receives from abroad.

Grant Goodman on Monday showed the Journal-World a recent letter he had received from a friend in the Philippines; it apparently had been opened, then re-closed with green tape bearing the seal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a message that it had been opened “by Border Protection.�

This is what the picture up top is all about. The incident happened in Decemeber of 2005.

Long live fear.

(UPDATE: As some have pointed out, signing statement aren’t laws, but they serve as pretty much just that. Come on people…work with me here. I changed it to read “de facto “laws””.)