(Clinton, KY) January 28, 2014 - The US Postal Service (USPS) reached a new low for business practice and management. The USPS has a domestic spy program to monitor their employees using letters sent to folks who agree to be "Reporters" on mailing and delivery.
It seems that upper levels of the USPS have time and money to start a spying network of locals with IBM. This program goes beyond any normal job description for the delivery of mail. This program seems to have many items in common with the recent ongoing scandal of the National Security Agency spying on the public.
From a search on the Internet, the program isn’t new. It was in effect in 2003. See “More” below linking to a story of a Tennessee news editor who received a similar letter. Once he called the contact number and identified himself as “media“ he was no longer eligible for the program. At that time, reporters were offered stamps. No more. With stamps at 49 cents each as of Monday, it seems even the USPS can’t afford to give away stamps
The idea is for “reporters” to monitor how each mail carrier actually puts the mail into the hands of the mail addressee. But, this new wrinkle of involving local businesses to spy on their own mail carrier for cash prizes is in the league of turning the Postal Service into an Orwellian government Big Brother program.
James P. Cochrane, Vice President, Product Information, USPS, recently sent out a request to thousands of individuals. In that letter he asked business leaders to “join our volunteer study and report the delivery of your mail.”
His letter seemed to be addressed only to business leaders. Below are the primary contents of this communication.
“Being a Reporter is easy and takes only a few minutes a day. You will report the delivery of the specific types of mail you receive each day via an easy-to-navigate website, http://www.reportez.com
You will make an ideal Reporter if:
· You collect and open the mail for your business every day
· You receive your mail directly from the USPS, and is not handled by a third party
· You have access to a personal computer and the internet to report your mail every day
As a thank you for your participation, you will have the opportunity to enroll in a rewards program that offers points redeemable for gift certificates on merchandise at more than 300 well known retailers. (Editor: we could really use postage stamps!)
IBM has been contracted to conduct the Mail Measurement Study to ensure that it remains impartial.”
The letter goes on to provide a secret Prospect ID followed by a secret Password number.
The letter ends with these words “To ensure that your participation is not known to local postal employees, your communication as a Reporter will be with IBM. We greatly appreciate your time in this important study.”
At the very bottom of the letter are these words, “Confidential Material Not for Reproduction or General Disclosure”
I wonder what Ben Franklin, the father of the Postal Service, would think about this modern concept for delivering the mail.