Posts tagged ‘Post Office’

08/23/2011

Post Office Violates Privacy Rights

As I was purchasing a bottle of wine with some food items, the checkout person at the grocery insisted on scanning my Driver’s License, even though I was obviously old enough to be her grand-father. I realized then that the Right to Privacy was in trouble. But what really got me going, later that day, was the discovery that the Post Office had given my home address to unauthorized persons.

I recently moved from one state to another, and directed the Post Office to forward my mail to the house of a relative, so I could continue receiving it, while I stayed in a motel, and looked for a home. After finding a place, I went online to my cell phone site to update my address, and was shocked to discover they were listing my relative’s address as mine, even though I had not given them that address, and was not in fact living there.

I called the phone company and asked how they got that address. The customer service person said he didn’t know at first, but after speaking with a supervisor, he explained they obtained it from the Post Office. The Post Office had shared my forwarding address with the phone company, even though I had not authorized them to do it. After correcting my address with the phone company, the loss of my privacy still bothered me enough to write about it.

What if the situation had involved a woman who was trying to lose a delusional stalker? By simply giving the Post Office a forwarding address, she would have inadvertently allowed anyone who requested updated information to receive it.

The moral of the story is unless you want to leave an address trail, you cannot give the Post Office a Change of Address Form, since they will share your personal private information with anyone who wants to know where you moved to.

Americans have a right to keep their private matters confidential. While major corporations have always had an interest in securing updated addresses, so they can continue sending junk mail that ends up in the trash as soon as it is received, the Congress should never have given in to them. They should not have authorized the Post Office to release private data. It is sad what has happened to the right to privacy in the Internet Age.

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07/29/2011

Post Office May Go Way Of Pony Express

I went to the Post Office today to buy a book of stamps, and as I pulled into the parking lot, I was ominously forewarned of a long line inside, as I had to wait outside for an open parking stall.

As I walked in, sure enough, there were 15 people in line waiting for help from just one postal worker, because the other employee, at another window, was taking an excessively long time helping one hapless man with what appeared to be a complicated item.

Since I had loaded UPS trucks as a college student, I understood the work of the Post Office, and over the years, I defended them against those inclined to blame everything on mail carriers. Postal workers deliver countless items of mail, six days a week, and they make relatively few mistakes. Most mail generally gets through.

Today, however, I did not feel like defending the Post Office. I thought instead, the agency was on its death bed. The employee who spent such a long time with one clueless customer should have ordered him aside, where he could have figured out his own problem. Because she did not, a female customer holding a package bailed out of the line, and a young man, who had been pacing back and forth, got testy as he finally reached the window.

As I left the building, I chuckled because I saw a Fed Ex box just outside the door. Fed Ex, a private company in competition with the Post Office, was somehow able to convince someone in Congress, or at the Post Office, to let them place their boxes outside Post Office buildings. It was a brilliant move, certain to quicken the demise of the Post Office.

It reminded me of a story my friend told me. When she worked at the Social Security Administration, a federal agency, they were required to use Fed Ex to mail items, instead of the Post Office. It was unbelievable–one federal agency was harming another.

The massive shift to online communications has also hurt the Post Office. Their revenues are dropping, as more and more people now use the Internet. Eventually, pressure will mount to simply do away with the Post Office. It’s been around since the founding of the country, but the way things are going, the Post Office may soon be riding off into the past, along with the Pony Express.