Neocon pundit and Cornell professor Rick Geddes has been warning of the imminent demise of the US Postal Service for decades. His solution, of course, is privatization. Now Geddes says that the postal service’s widespread snooping on Americans’ mail increases the need to privatize. His office issued this press release:
Rick Geddes, expert on the U.S. Postal Service and Cornell University professor of Policy Analysis and Management, says that recent revelations about the postal service tracking the mail of citizens – sometimes without proper authorization – only accelerates the need for major postal reform.
“Media reports about the U.S. Postal Service’s mail surveillance program, called mail covers, is decades old. It allows the Postal Inspection Service, at the request of state or federal law enforcement agencies, to direct postal workers to record the names, return addresses, and any other pertinent information from the outside of letters and addresses prior to their delivery.
“It does not allow for the opening of mail without a warrant. Now, there are media reports that the use of the mail covers program is much more widespread than previously thought, fueling concerns about privacy.
“This revelation raises an important issue for the Postal Service, since it has long touted the ‘sanctity of the mail’ as a major contributor to the value of sending mail physically through its system. Indeed, the Office of the Inspector General of the Postal Service stresses that the sanctity of the mail stems from the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects citizens’ against unreasonable search and seizure.
“In an economic environment of rapidly falling mail volume due to rising use of electronic communications alternatives, this development is likely to cause more rapid declines in the Postal Service’s already tenuous fiscal condition. It will thus accelerate the need for major postal reform.”