Around Thanksgiving of 2014, a US Postal Service customer noticed something odd: surveillance cameras outside a local Golden, Colorado post office that were aimed to capture vehicle license plates and the faces of customers exiting the building.
Just recently, a Denver Fox TV affiliate confirmed the presence of these surveillance cameras in an investigative report. Although the US Postal Inspection Service claimed that they were for law enforcement and security, there were no surveillance cameras that captured activities at the employee entrance or loading dock at the building.
Pamela Durkee, a U.S. Postal Inspector explained in an email to FOX31, “(We) do not engage in routine or random surveillance. Cameras are deployed for law enforcement or security purposes, which may include the security of our facilities, the safety of our customers and employees, or for criminal investigations. Employees of the Postal Inspection Service are sworn to uphold the United States Constitution, including protecting the privacy of the American public.”
But according to Lee Tian, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, these cameras violate the spirit of the Constitution. “Part of being a responsible, constitutional government is explaining why it is doing surveillance on its citizens,” Tian said. “The government should not be collecting this kind of sensitive information. And it is sensitive! It’s about your relationships, your associations with other people, which can be friendship or political or religious. The idea that we give up that privacy simply because we use the U.S. mail is, I think, a silly idea.”
Tian continues: “The idea that they [law enforcement] would be able to keep that information forever and search through it whenever they want to – that seems very, very wrong to us because it means you’ll be able to accumulate over time a lot of innocent peoples’ information and then use it in the kinds of ways that would not be overseen by any kind of court or independent third party.”
ACTION ALERT! —————————–
Want to help a Forward Observer project? Then we need photos and locations of these types of surveillance cameras at post offices around you. Help us create a map of known locations where surveillance cameras capture the license plates and/or faces of innocent post office customers. Send in your information to: USPS (at) readfomag (dot) com!