Resolved: Obama's Delay of ObamaCare Is Nakedly Political, Designed to Hide the Layoffs Which Will Accompany ObamaCare Until After the 2014 Elections | Main | Egypt's Army Suspends Constitution, Declares Mursi Out of Power;
Says Chief Justice of Constitutional Court Will Serve As Interim Head of State
July 03, 2013

Oh, By the Way, the Government is Taking the "MetaData" off Every Piece of Regualar Paper Mail You Send, Too

All information on exteriors of envelopes -- addressee, return address -- is being photographed and kept for possible future law enforcement purposes.

It's not known how long this information is kept.

This is not really a Fourth Amendment issue per se because the Fourth Amendment does not apply to information or expressions rendered publicly -- and of course, when you place your mail in the hands of a government courier, the addressee and return address are public information. That's why they're on the outside. The mail couldn't function of such information were "private."

Still... it's getting very weird.

Part of this is a technological shift. In the past, we didn't have to worry about these things because practical reality kept government datavores in check. In the past, for example, when all fingerprint analysis was done by human hand, with magnifying glasses and comparisons to old cards on file, there was an inherent cost in manhours that naturally limited such things.

60 years ago, you couldn't say "Well what if they just check everyone's fingerprints against every database?!?!" except as the most far-out hypothetical. 60 years ago, one answer would have been, "As a practical matter, they could never do that, you doofus, so the issue is moot."

But it's not moot anymore, because now the government really can check every fingerprint on file against every other fingerprint on file at a fairly trivial cost in terms of man-hours, and the government really can photograph and save, forever, the exterior of every single envelope put into the US mail.

The old limiting factor of the cost of human labor to do these things is now removed entirely. We didn't have to worry as much about constitutional restraints, or non-constitutional prudential limitations, because there were significant practical restraints such as limited budgets, limited personnel, and basic human laziness (or at least the fact that we need to eat and sleep and otherwise not devote all of our hours to collating, comparing, and storing examplars.)

Now we are in fact presented with a lot of questions, along the lines of "What if they did this for every single citizen for every single public action that citizen conducts?," a question which not only describes the merely possible, but the actual current practice.

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:59 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
SturmToddler: " Hey how is it that we can say "UK variant" of a d ..."

rickb223 [/s][/b][/i][/u]: "No bell bottoms! Posted by: Mine Safety Office w ..."

John Durham 2 weeks : "Good morning No Dough No Votes for the McConnell ..."

Jewells45: "Lady in Black, I know. I feel dirty every time I ..."

J.J. Sefton: " 74 When CW2 starts, it sounds like we can count o ..."

Lady in Black[/i][/b][/u]: "Trumps not going to run in '24. -- I don't b ..."

Huck Follywood, Fopps News Sucks: "When CW2 starts, it sounds like we can count on Ut ..."

Jewells45: "[i]Dominion Cheat Machines will expand their prese ..."

rickb223 [/s][/b][/i][/u]: "So now that CNN is shown to willingly alter the vi ..."

tbodie [/i] [/b] [/s] [/u]: "I'm even ok with him simply going blind. Post ..."

Village Idiot's Apprentice [/s] [/b] [/i]: ""Hey how is it that we can say "UK variant" of a d ..."

SturmToddler: "and yeah, this is brutal. the newest video is from ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64