Protect Postal Privacy
The following information was written by Kathleen Ellis. The Free
Software Foundation does not lead this campaign, but we support it by
spreading the word and hope that you do too.
The United States Postal Service has submitted a rule to Congress
proposing that all Commercial Mail Recieving Agencies (CMRAs) must,
as of June 24, 1999, collect significant personal information from
all clients using their services. This would certainly affect
anonymous mail transactions, and could put millions of CMRA
customers in danger. Any CMRA or CMRA customer who refuses to
comply with this regulation would effectively lose their right to
The proposed regulation (published in the Federal Register on March
25, 1999) requires that CMRAs collect names, home addresses,
telephone numbers, and photo ID information about each customer. If
the CMRA customer classifies themselves as a business, they must
surrender the information on that box holder to anyone who asks for
it. CMRAs are widely used by survivors of domestic violence,
undercover law enforcement officials, and stalking victims in order
to conceal their locations and identities from people who could
cause them harm.
The USPS proposal was intended to help cut down on mail fraud, a
practice that costs consumers millions of dollars every year.
However, experts state that the Postal Service's proposal will not
serve as a deterrent to criminals. “It will be a simple process
for those with financial means to rent homes, apartments, office
space, or the executive suites available in most major metropolitan
areas”, says Postal Watch's website.
Congressman Ron Paul has introduced House Joint Resolution 55, which
would effectively revoke the Postal Service's new regulations
regarding CMRAs, but the resolution needs your support in order to
ensure that this insidious assault on consumer privacy is defeated.
What you can do
- Contact your Representative and urge them to co-sponsor HJR 55.
- Write or call members of the House Appropriations Committee and
inform them about this issue, and urge them to pass the
- Send written comments about this issue to the US Postal Service
before July 9, 1999 to:
Manager, Administration and FOIA United States Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 8141 Washington, DC 20260-5202
For further information, see the following web pages: