[Politech] Replies to U.S. Postal Service dislikes anonymous mail [fs][priv]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Wed Oct 29 2003 - 21:53:44 PST

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    Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 22:34:32 -0500
    To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
    From: Robert Moskowitz <rgm-int@htt-consult.com>
    Subject: Re: [Politech] U.S. Postal Service doesn't like anonymous
       physical mail [fs][priv]
    In-Reply-To: <>
    Have you given any thought to what it would take to really have this work?
    Everyone would need a tempus-class mail signer that had a digital cert from 
    some trusted root.
    They would have to put a unique number on the mailing (160 bits, probably) 
    and then use the signer to create a digital sig of that number and this 
    would also be on the mail.
    Just about anything else could be forged.
    Nah, even this really doesn't work.  The PO would have to keep a log of all 
    these numbers and make sure they were never reused, to avoid spoofing of 
    even them.....
    So ANYTHING they do is just window-dressing and a money sink.
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    Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 13:36:06 -0500
    To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
    From: Stephen Cobb <scobb@private>
    Subject: Re: [Politech] U.S. Postal Service doesn't like anonymous
       physical mail [fs][priv]
    In-Reply-To: <>
    A back-door form of sender identification has already been put in place for 
    packages. You are not supposed to put Priority Mail packages over one pound 
    into mailboxes without a post office metered stamp.
    I tried this recently when sending out review copies of my book, 
    accidentally. I used Priority Mail, which is $3.85 regardless of weight if 
    you use a pre-printed envelope. The book weighs under 1 lb so I was sure I 
    was okay, but I later found that the post office scale said each package 
    was 1.1lbs. I found this out because several days later the packages were 
    delivered to my box at the post office, as opposed to being delivered to 
    the friends and clients to whom I addressed them. I then had to go to the 
    counter and have the postal employee place a metered stamp in the value of 
    $0.0 on the packages.
    This is not a trivial regulation. This particular variation on postal 
    stupidity ruins the otherwise bright idea of fixed rate Priority Mail. Used 
    to be, if the stuff you were mailing fit into the pre-printed Priority Mail 
    envelope you could slap $3.85 on the thing and drop it in a box, pretty 
    much regardless of weight. Quick and easy. But apparently, like my nail 
    clippers, a threat to national security.
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