A report published yesterday by The New York Times showed an unexplained sixfold increase in the number of approved government requests to spy on the snail mail correspondence of American citizens in recent years.Roughly 50,000 requests to spy on Postal Service metadata — the names, return addresses, and postmark locations on the outside of envelopes sent to a particular location or individual — were granted by the United States Postal Service in 2013 alone, The New York Times points out today. That’s up from an average of just 8,000 requests per year between 2001 and 2012. This increase happened with essentially no explanation as to why it was necessary, or with any added mechanisms to protect such a program from abuse:
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