on privacy are rampant. No sooner have we been
successful in stopping four agencies from implementing
Orwellian invasions into the financial records of every
American citizen, but in March of 1999 the U.S. Post Office
moved to severely limit privacy and restrict trade.
A U.S. Postal Service regulation has been finalized
that tramples the privacy of the approximately two million
people who rent mailboxes from commercial mail receiving
this regulation, any American currently renting, or planning
to rent, a commercial mailbox must provide the commercial
agency with personal information, including two forms of
identification: one must display a photograph of the renter,
and the other include a "serial number...traceable to
the federal government has granted a monopoly on first-class
mail delivery to the U.S. Postal Service, Americans cannot
receive mail without dealing with them. Therefore, this
regulation presents Americans who wish to receive mail at a
commercial mail receiving agency with a choice: either
surrender your right to privacy, or surrender your right to
receive legal mail in the manner you prefer.
regulation, ironically, was issued at a time when the U.S.
Postal Service is getting into an increasing number of
enterprises not directly related to the delivery of mail. So
while the U.S. Postal Service is willing to use its monopoly
on first-class mail to compete with the private sector, it
is at the same time working to make life more difficult for
its competitors in the field of mail delivery.
course, this regulation also raises the operating cost on
the U.S. Postal Service's private competitors for private
mailbox services. Some who have examined the regulations
estimate it could impose costs as high as $1 billion on
these small businesses during the initial six-month
The long-term cost of this rule is incalculable, but
will no doubt force some of these businesses into
the rule's comment period, more than 8,000 people spoke
against, and only ten in favor of it. But to those
supporting the rule, all is justified because they claim it
is necessary to crack down on criminal activities. First,
the federal role in crime, even if committed in
"interstate commerce," is a limited one. More
importantly, just because someone may use a mailbox to
commit a crime does not give the government the right to
treat every user of a commercial mailbox as a criminal.
Ron Paul introduced House Joint Resolution 55-The Mailbox
Privacy Protection Act, hoping that it will be considered
under the expedited procedures to overturn onerous
regulations as established in the Contract with America
Advancement Act of 1996. Congress cannot hide and blame
these actions on the bureaucracy.
latest assault on privacy must be reversed. Congress must
not allow the U.S. Postal Service to force American citizens
to divulge, as the price for receiving mail, personal
information for inclusion in massive databases.
taken from Congressman Ron Paul’s “Straight Talk” May
information is a available at http://www.postalwatch.org.
The Web site is maintained by PostalWatch Inc., a non-profit
advocacy group involved in postal issues.