On the heels of the NSA PRISM program controversy, new developments have suggested the depths of the surveillance go beyond online correspondence to offline as well. A bookstore owner in Buffalo, Leslie Pikering, recently received a parcel with a confidential card mistakenly left attached to it:
“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card.
Mr. Pickering’s mail was part of a long line of targets encompassing a national operation sancionted by the Postal Service. Nearly 160 billion parcels last year were intricately photographed by Mail Isolation Control, and it’s content images saved by the Government. Although the initial motivation was to use mail covers to track those suspected of crimes, the current approach is much more generalized.
“In the past, mail covers were used when you had a reason to suspect someone of a crime,” said Mark D. Rasch, the former director of the Justice Department’s computer crime unit. “Now it seems to be ‘Let’s record everyone’s mail so in the future we might go back and see who you were communicating with.’ Essentially you’ve added mail covers on millions of Americans.”
Is the FBI going too far, or is this business as usual? Chime in below!