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  #1  
Old 03 January 2009, 06:51 PM
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snopes snopes is offline
 
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Icon18 USPS photographs everyone who buys stamps

Comment: Here is an email I received from a friend in Los Angeles- is this
true?

----

I went to the post office today to buy a single stamp for sending off a
thank you note. When I arrived at the post office, I discovered a new
stamp dispensing machine I had never seen before. Next to it, was a
postal worker helping people maneuver the new machine. When it was my
turn, I needed some help negotiating the litany of questions the machine
was asking.

In conversation with the postal worker he told me that I could not buy
just one stamp, but had to buy three. That was no big deal to me. He
then told me that I had to use a credit card because the machine didn't
accept cash. He then went on to tell me that very soon, the post office
itself would not accept cash any longer. Every transaction in the near
future, most likely this year, will be cashless. Wow... that surprised
me. He then went on to tell me that when I bought the stamp from the
machine, it took a photo of me as it registered my credit card purchase.
Wow again...

I asked if I could have a copy. He laughed and said, "no." "Where does
it go?" I asked. He told me that the photo was sent directly to Homeland
Security for observation and storage. WOW... "Why?" He couldn't answer
that but said that everyone who enters the post office actually has their
photos taken too. It actually came in very handy for him last week.
Several weeks ago, he ejected an unruly customer and banned him from
entering the post office ever again. A few weeks later, that same
customer tried to enter the post office and it sounded off an alarm
alerting the postal workers to eject him. One more WOW...

"How did the alarm get set off by him?" He told me that the post office
has "face recognition" software in it's computer system and it scans
everyone who walks into the post office and can alert them to people they
are looking for... I was speechless.

Through buying a single stamp, my credit card information was taken along
with my photo which was registered and sent to Homeland Security and
possibly embedded in face recognition equipment all justified in the name
of "public safety." As we move to a cashless society, our every action
can be monitored and recorded resulting in the total loss of our privacy.
Our every action can be followed and questioned and ultimately we
surrender our personal power and freewill to a faceless power behind the
curtain that can threaten our livelihoods, movements, and our very lives
if we do not obey what it demands of us.
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  #2  
Old 03 January 2009, 07:03 PM
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Tarquin Farquart Tarquin Farquart is offline
 
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I don't know about the States, but here you can buy stamps in lots of stores, not just post offices.
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  #3  
Old 03 January 2009, 07:06 PM
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Cervus Cervus is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarquin Farquart View Post
I don't know about the States, but here you can buy stamps in lots of stores, not just post offices.
It's the same over here. You can buy them in grocery stores, drug stores, and Wal-Mart, among others.
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  #4  
Old 03 January 2009, 07:08 PM
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Tarquin Farquart Tarquin Farquart is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
It's the same over here. You can buy them in grocery stores, drug stores, and Wal-Mart, among others.
I assumed that would be the case. I wonder if they have secret cameras there too?
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  #5  
Old 03 January 2009, 07:11 PM
KKHB
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
It's the same over here. You can buy them in grocery stores, drug stores, and Wal-Mart, among others.
I wondered how the OP thought they would get around that to get our photographs. You can also order stamps and have them delivered with your mail. Between all the "alternative" methods of stamp buying, I don't remember the last time I even bought stamps from the post office itself. The only time I go there it seems is to mail a package or certified mail...stamps, which I rarely need these days, are easier to just pick up elsewhere that I happen to be.
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  #6  
Old 03 January 2009, 07:44 PM
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videoguy videoguy is offline
 
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Quote:
When I arrived at the post office, I discovered a new
stamp dispensing machine I had never seen before.
That seems unlikely, because stamp machines at post offices will be gone by 2010.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...101801047.html
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  #7  
Old 03 January 2009, 08:09 PM
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I doubt this as well. I can buy stamps at the office (they have a roll of them). Lots of people buy them to mail out things that they don't want to bother with the resource center to process (I myself restrict that area for shipping packages out and even then I do that online and get a shipping label). I can tell you right now that they do not take your picture and do accept cash. The grocery store where I got my last batch accepted cash as well.

Exactly how is that going to stop people from simply getting stamps from other people? Presumably people buy stamps in bulk so that they can be used for multiple people, and they are not serialized to be traceable. Not to mention that if you violate the law via the postal service, they know where it gets sent from anyway (even if you forge the return address).
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  #8  
Old 03 January 2009, 08:22 PM
Shnoops Shnoops is offline
 
 
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Did this person even see the camera or did this person accept everything word for word?


Quote:
Originally Posted by KKHB View Post
I wondered how the OP thought they would get around that to get our photographs. You can also order stamps and have them delivered with your mail. Between all the "alternative" methods of stamp buying, I don't remember the last time I even bought stamps from the post office itself. The only time I go there it seems is to mail a package or certified mail...stamps, which I rarely need these days, are easier to just pick up elsewhere that I happen to be.
They'll install the machines into every store. If people order by mail, a machine will be sent instead. Any time in the future, if those people wanted order more by mail, all they need to do is scan their fingerprints into the machine. They will also feel a small pinprick. They shouldn't be alarmed though, because it's only taking a blood sample.

If anybody is wary of these, then they should be careful of some of their new stamps. It will have a microchip inside. The 1st ones will be recognizable because it has a picture of a camera on it. Yes, the camera works. It takes your picture and the recipient of the mail. Now they'll not only know the mailer, but everyone that is associated with that person.

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  #9  
Old 03 January 2009, 08:38 PM
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franjava franjava is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarquin Farquart View Post
I assumed that would be the case. I wonder if they have secret cameras there too?
Teehee! I was thinking, "Hey, what about the security cameras that are all over the post office? They need to put a special one in the stamp machine too?"
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  #10  
Old 03 January 2009, 09:32 PM
purpleiguana purpleiguana is offline
 
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I sincerely doubt the veracity of this claim for many reasons, first of which is "how in the world does buying a stamp make you a threat to national security?" Face-recognition software is the real deal, but I have no idea how reliable it is or how much it costs to where it would be the tiniest bit feasible for every single post office to use it.

Just all seems ridiculous.
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  #11  
Old 04 January 2009, 12:12 AM
talk2sparky talk2sparky is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videoguy View Post
That seems unlikely, because stamp machines at post offices will be gone by 2010.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...101801047.html
But that's the old stamp vending machines. The OP was about the new computerized machines. They are really for sending packages and letters so everybody doesn't have to wait in line. And they often do have a postal worker standing by the machine to help people. Either the OP is making the rest of it up, or the postal worker was bored and having fun with him.

And there might be cameras at the post office being it's a gov't facility, but face recognition software? Hardly.
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  #12  
Old 04 January 2009, 12:18 AM
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barbrainey barbrainey is offline
 
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D'oh!

I buy postage stamps at the nearest grocery store, too. It is located within walking distance from where I live. They always accept cash. In fact, they prefer cash for stamp purchases. Also, I have never seen any camera, either at my local post office or the supermarket where I regularly buy stamps. Although they do have survillence cameras in most stores for security purposes. But they do not take any pictures of customers who buy postage stamps.

The OP sounds like some paranoid anti-government nut who probably associates such "Big Brother" Orwellian survillence with Bible prophecy and the Second Coming of Christ. He/she probably believes that such cameras will play a role in the rule of the "Antichrist" and the "mark of the beast," the number 666 from the book of Revelation.

Barb Rainey
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  #13  
Old 04 January 2009, 12:26 AM
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diddy diddy is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purpleiguana View Post
I sincerely doubt the veracity of this claim for many reasons, first of which is "how in the world does buying a stamp make you a threat to national security?"
Exactly. People who violate postal codes get caught for other reasons unrelated to buying stamps. A criminal would just get them through other means that would avoid this program. Not to mention that this kind of monitoring would be ridiculously complex. Furthermore, I don't think that facial recognition software quite works like it does as shown in CSI. Credit cards would be sufficient except not everybody has them. Exactly how are teenagers supposed to buy stamps without a credit card? What about people with poor credit?
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  #14  
Old 04 January 2009, 12:59 AM
Steve Eisenberg Steve Eisenberg is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barbrainey View Post
The OP sounds like some paranoid anti-government nut who probably associates such "Big Brother" Orwellian survillence with Bible prophecy and the Second Coming of Christ. He/she probably believes that such cameras will play a role in the rule of the "Antichrist" and the "mark of the beast," the number 666 from the book of Revelation.
There also are atheist paranoid anti-government nuts, you know. But I agree that the OP was written by a paranoid anti-government nut.

I wish the part about us moving to a cashless society was true, though. That would result in an awesome drop in crime, by vastly complicating criminal transactions such as a burglar selling stolen goods to a fence.
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  #15  
Old 04 January 2009, 05:46 AM
Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Drizzle is offline
 
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From what I have seen and read. All cash machines or similar device that use credit cards take a picture of the user. The pictures are used the same way as a surveillance camera. If there is a problem then someone will look at the pictures.

We have had one of these new machines at our post office for more than 2 years now. They have made some soft ware change that were needed. The big on was to display something to say it think and to wait before pushing button again. Anyway you can only get books of 18 stamps or single ones. If you want something else you need to go to counter. I will also hand small packages.
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  #16  
Old 04 January 2009, 05:53 AM
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keokuk keokuk is offline
 
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Quote:
I asked if I could have a copy. He laughed and said, "no." "Where does
it go?" I asked. He told me that the photo was sent directly to Homeland
Security for observation and storage. WOW... "Why?" He couldn't answer
that but said that everyone who enters the post office actually has their
photos taken too. It actually came in very handy for him last week.
Several weeks ago, he ejected an unruly customer and banned him from
entering the post office ever again. A few weeks later, that same
customer tried to enter the post office and it sounded off an alarm
alerting the postal workers to eject him. One more WOW...

"How did the alarm get set off by him?" He told me that the post office
has "face recognition" software in it's computer system and it scans
everyone who walks into the post office and can alert them to people they
are looking for... I was speechless.
I like the idea that the facial recognition software was being used to identify a customer who once made a scene at a post office so that he could be ejected upon entry at a later date. Consider all the practical applications that such a program could have for crime prevention and anti-terrorism, as well as the intricate system that would need to be in place for it to be effective. So then how does the government use it? To make sure that if someone is rude to a cashier at a post office, he'll never have a chance to set foot in a post office again!
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  #17  
Old 04 January 2009, 06:03 AM
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diddy diddy is offline
 
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Location: Plymouth, MN
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Police

Quote:
Originally Posted by keokuk View Post
So then how does the government use it? To make sure that if someone is rude to a cashier at a post office, he'll never have a chance to set foot in a post office again!
Hey you don't want to mess with the postal service, I'll have you know that those wanted posters aren't just for decoration!
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  #18  
Old 04 January 2009, 01:10 PM
purpleiguana purpleiguana is offline
 
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Location: Pennsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post
Furthermore, I don't think that facial recognition software quite works like it does as shown in CSI.
I dunno how it works either, but I know that it's used in Vegas to sort out the folks who try to cheat the system.
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  #19  
Old 07 January 2009, 05:06 PM
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TrishDaDish TrishDaDish is offline
 
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The machines in the post office only sell stamps in books, not sets of three. Which totally sucks, because I used to like the old machines, where I could get as few stamps as I wanted (as well as in different cost amounts, like for postcards). Now I have to wait in line forever to buy one or two stamps while people who are too paranoid of the new machine wait in line instead to ship something.

The whole photo face recognition thing makes me think of an MTS3K invention exchange, where Joel took your picture with an instamatic and out came dollar bills with your picture on it (as proof of I.D.). I believe Tom Servo went nuts with the logic behind that one.
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  #20  
Old 07 January 2009, 06:07 PM
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Latiam Latiam is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: Here is an email I received from a friend in Los Angeles- is this
true?

----


In conversation with the postal worker he told me that I could not buy
just one stamp, but had to buy three. That was no big deal to me. He
then told me that I had to use a credit card because the machine didn't
accept cash.

Through buying a single stamp, my credit card information was taken along
with my photo which was registered and sent to Homeland Security and
possibly embedded in face recognition equipment all justified in the name
of "public safety." .
But he didn't buy a single stamp, he bought three. Really. Make a mistake like that and that's what I'll take away from something like this.
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