Tracking my package: A whole new meaning

Cartons of mail ready to be sorted sit on a shelf at the U.S. Post Office sort center.

This final note today, just because we haven't said the words Edward Snowden or government monitoring on the broadcast yet.

The New York Times has a story today in which readers learned this fact: The United States Postal Service takes pictures of every single piece of paper mail it processes in this country. That's photographs of 160 billion cards and letters last year.

It's used for law enforcement, mostly. All police, sheriffs and the FBI have to do is ask, and the post office will tell 'em what kind of mail you've been getting for the past four months.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, the most widely heard program on business and the economy in the country.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation