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A Faerie's Farthing

Flitting through the internets looking for sparkly bits. All content mine and not to be reproduced without permission.

Location: All Material Copyrighted, United States

Saturday, January 07, 2006

They Get Letters...

They Get Letters...

He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

The reality of life under the Party (poor, dirty, and hungry) is completely different to the image of life according to their propaganda (efficient, futuristic, and mechanical). Even so, everyone appears to swallow the propaganda and believe they are living the great life they see in posters and on films.

Quote 41: "Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end." Part 2, Chapter 9, pg. 206-7

Surveillance 10: All letters sent by mail are opened and checked by the mail service. There is no such thing as private mail.

It used to be fiction...

In the 50 years that Grant Goodman has known and corresponded with a colleague in the Philippines he never had any reason to suspect that their friendship was anything but spectacularly ordinary.

But now he believes that the relationship has somehow sparked the interest of the Department of Homeland Security and led the agency to place him under surveillance.

Last month Goodman, an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words “by Border Protection” and carrying the official Homeland Security seal.

DHS was fairly unapologetic and uninformative in their response to inquiries on this issue. As is typical with this administration, we learn far more from what not is not said.

A spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection division said he couldn’t speak directly to Goodman’s case but acknowledged that the agency can, will and does open mail coming to U.S. citizens that originates from a foreign country whenever it’s deemed necessary.

...“This process isn’t something we’re trying to hide,” Mohan said, noting the wording on the agency’s Web site. “We’ve had this authority since before the Department of Homeland Security was created,” Mohan said.

However, Mohan declined to outline what criteria are used to determine when a piece of personal correspondence should be opened, but said, “obviously it’s a security-related criteria.”

Mohan also declined to say how often or in what volume CBP might be opening mail.

Oh goody! More surveillance with ill-defined boundaries and applications. On whose whim is it determined that correspondence needs to be screened? Who is doing the screening? Does DHS keep files on the opened letters and their contents?

This is getting ridiculous.


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