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Finland To Try Scanning Snail Mail 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the neither-rain-nor-sleet-nor-wicked-lag dept.
will_die writes "In an effort to cut carbon emissions and reduce costs, Finland's postal company, Itella, has begun a pilot program wherein snail-mail letters are converted into PDFs and made viewable online by their addressees, instead or in advance of physical delivery. The effort is volunteer only — a little over 100 people and around 20 business as of last month — but it has already sparked concerns in Finland about privacy and government overreach. The volunteers will have images of all their letters viewable on a computer or phone. The postman will still arrive twice a week to deliver the scanned letters, as well as any packages or attachments. Additionally, the postal service will filter out junk mail."
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Finland To Try Scanning Snail Mail

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:03PM (#31709900)

    ... but no one cares. (since it's too long to title as such.)

    This seems like Zumbox on crack.

    While the idea of receiving mail digitally has some appeal to me, forcing everyone to receive mail originally sent in a non-digital format as a set of 1s and 0s is... not quite the best idea.

    I wouldn't mind receiving my electric, water, and cable bill as a digital sending each month (and I already do via email), but certain things (bills from collections agencies come to mind) are things that I, and ONLY I need to see.

    Now, with something like this, if the ability to respond electronically to the mail were there and available to us, even if there's some sort of digital postage (at a reduced cost, preferably, if we choose to not send a dead tree copy of the same letter) that was needed, maybe it would start to appeal to more.

    Best case for that would be when my doctor sends me paperwork to fill out before I come in. If I can log into a secure server, receive the forms, type in the data (memo: we need to have something other than Adobe for forms, ffs. Plain old HTML forms should be fine), and submit that electronically...
    If the doctor needs a dead tree version at that point, they can print it.

  • ORLY? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:03PM (#31709906)

    april fools...

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:04PM (#31709920) Homepage

    Why not? What comes in by snail mail today?

    1. Bills from companies that don't handle online billing.
    2. Junk mail.

    And they're filtering out the junk mail!

    • Re:Why not? (Score:3, Informative)

      by rotide (1015173) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:08PM (#31709960)

      And if you get a birthday card with money in it? Who is to say you didn't get two 20's in that letter. The postal service was only able to locate one of those!

      Or, say it's a private letter about financial information and now they have all your account information, oh and all your other personally identifiable information was in other letters that week so your identity is safe with you, and the person that opened all your mail.

      It's just not a good idea in the long run. Maybe as an opt-in service for those who _know_ what is/isn't showing up in snail mail?

      • by AuMatar (183847) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:11PM (#31709996)

        I've gotten one piece of non-junk mail in the last year. I'll happily tell people not to send money in exchange for cutting off the junk. Who the hell mails cash instead of a check anyway?

      • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:29PM (#31710136) Homepage

        Who is to say you didn't get two 20's in that letter.

        Don't everyone's grandparents put steganographic checksums for enclosed money in the text of their letter? :P

      • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:40PM (#31710206)

        Its no more likely to happen with it being done this way than it currently is.

        Its really not hard to open an envelope, fuck with the contents, and reseal it without anyone noticing after the fact.

        The fact that the places that are going to be doing this are most certainly monitored to all hell and back like most postal sorting facilities already are.

        You are being paranoid about a problem that would already exist if it were actually going to be a problem.

        Like it or not, this is the way things are going. The transition is going to happen and when it does there are going to be initial issues that need to be worked out, but thats not an excuse for not doing it.

        The pony express riders could read your mail and steal your money too, far easier than now where most of the work is done by machines rather than hands on by people ... but it was still a good thing to have wasn't it?

        People have always had their hands on your mail and had this ability. They've had scanners for years that would make it easy to spot money in something and to stick that one aside. Hell, a hand held high power UV light in your palm being held over the envelopes will get you enough of a reflection to detect the plastic strip in american bills so you only have to open the ones with money in them, making it pretty much identical to this in every way. If you trust your mailman, this is no different, he can already do this if he wants to.

        Fortunately, most people find it easier to just do their job than to try and scam people via the mail and end up in a federal prison ... at least here in the states. I doubt its really that much different in Finland.

      • by BitterOak (537666) on Friday April 02, 2010 @05:04PM (#31710416)

        And if you get a birthday card with money in it? Who is to say you didn't get two 20's in that letter. The postal service was only able to locate one of those!

        RTFA. It says the system is voluntary. If you send money in your birthday card (and it is never a good idea to send cash in the mail), then don't volunteer to have that piece of mail scanned!

        • by dcollins (135727) on Friday April 02, 2010 @06:12PM (#31711020) Homepage

          "RTFA. It says the system is voluntary. If you send money in your birthday card (and it is never a good idea to send cash in the mail), then don't volunteer to have that piece of mail scanned!"

          RTFA yourself. The system is currently voluntary for the recipient, for whom all of their mail will be scanned. It's neither (1) optable by the sender, nor (2) optable per piece of mail. On top of all that, this is a test for a universal (presumably non-optable) rollout.

      • by weicco (645927) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:44AM (#31713750)

        You are not supposed to send money over mail in Finland. Post's own web pages says that it is forbidden. There's no law about it though (in Finland we have laws about almost everything!)

    • by religious freak (1005821) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:09PM (#31709968)
      How are they going to transmit those crappy Discover credit card offers with the fake and completely unshreddable plastic credit card in it?! Oh noes!!
    • by Itninja (937614) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:12PM (#31710004) Homepage
      3. Letters from Grandparents
      4. Checks
      5. Legally binding documents (i.e titles, deeds, contracts)
    • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:13PM (#31710016) Homepage Journal

      Bills from companies that you don't trust to handle online billing.

      FTFY.

      Bills in the mail aren't exclusively from companies that don't handle online billing. Some of us choose to continue with paper versions of bills because we do not trust putting our credit card and/or bank account information into commonly used, high profile websites on a monthly basis.

      • Re:Why not? (Score:3, Informative)

        by mattack2 (1165421) on Friday April 02, 2010 @05:15PM (#31710514)
        Btw, you can still pay these paper bills online for free. I pay the small part of my dentist bill that insurance doesn't pay (have gone there forever, should find in network dentist) online. Plus, anybody you mail a check to has all of the info to get money out of your account.
      • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Friday April 02, 2010 @11:05PM (#31712868)

        Some of us choose to continue with paper versions of bills because we do not trust putting our credit card and/or bank account information into commonly used, high profile websites on a monthly basis.

        Yet you choose to send paper checks through the mail that have your name, address, and bank routing/account number on them and are handled by god knows who many people along the way (postal employees, customer service reps accepting the payment at the destination, etc). Interesting. I think I'll stick to trusting the online method.

  • by monoi (811392) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:06PM (#31709950)
    With the exception of contracts and suchlike (which would obviously be outside this scheme), I can't think of anything sensitive that I receive by snail mail these days.

    Everything I really care about the security of (bank statements, personal messages etc) comes over the web, via TLS.
  • by xerent_sweden (1010825) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:07PM (#31709954)
    Posted 1 day ago, is this a late april fools joke?
    • by Orbijx (1208864) * <slashdot@org.pixelechoes@net> on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:10PM (#31709980) Homepage Journal

      Doesn't seem so. Following a few links through the article, they genuinely appear to have a site set up for receiving digital mail.

      Requires either a user/pass set, or a (government issued? possibly as part of the ID?) smartcard read by the site to get logged in.

      I'm nowhere near there, so I lack a user/pass or ID for login, but it seems to be legit.

      • by Orbijx (1208864) * <slashdot@org.pixelechoes@net> on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:19PM (#31710078) Homepage Journal

        A derp-a-derp-derp.
        Would help if I actually linked what I discovered.

        From TFA, I followed a link over to a blog at the Telegraph [telegraph.co.uk] that contained links to the Netposti [netposti.fi] interface (link set to english. På svenska [netposti.fi], Suomeksi [netposti.fi] are options for .fi, .se).

        What shows up after logging in, I have to leave to someone who actually has a login for the service. It'd be an expensive, expensive trip overseas just for me to get an answer (passport, plane, time off from work, sedatives, rental vehicle, ...), so I'll leave it to someone who might just be able to walk down the road and get set up.

        • by CortoMaltese (828267) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:42PM (#31710214)
          AFAIK this scanning thing is a trial only for a small community. At least for now. But it's not April Fools, that's for sure.

          Finnish postal service already provides a service for companies, institutions, etc. to send mail electronically to the postal service, who print out the stuff and deliver the snail mail to the end clients. This probably does save a bunch of CO2, and makes life easier for said companies.

          NetPosti you refer to is an interface for receiving such mail electronically, opting out of the snail mail part altogether. Possibly the scanning service uses the same interface.

          The scanning service mostly sounds insane to me, but I could imagine someone already using NetPosti wanting to archive everything there. (Like images of the 20 euros your grandma sent you. Eh.) I guess the people would still receive the snail mail, but maybe in batches once or twice a week instead of every weekday.

  • by the1337g33k (1268908) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:08PM (#31709958)
    If I could get my actual mail scanned and delivered by e-mail that would be awesome. There are some bills I have that don't have online pay functions yet, and regardless of privacy (since I already sold it to google a while back) this would actually be more private and secure then actually having it delivered. My mail gets stolen from time to time. (yes, I RTFA and I know they still deliver the scanned messages too)
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:09PM (#31709974)

    Finland is really a very small country population-wise, but decently sized in landmass. Under 6M people in the 8th largest country in Europe. This has to make mail distribution very expensive. Add in the weather (I've been to northern Finland in February- well below 0 with snow banks over your head) and I can see why they'd want to minimize or eliminate physical delivery. Its barely economical in the US, I can't see how it could be there.

  • by kg8484 (1755554) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:11PM (#31709994)

    I call bull on the "effort to cut carbon emissions" - this is purely about the costs and the carbon emissions are a byproduct (gas costs money). When I send a letter, I mean to send a letter. Not an electronic document. Now, this does not happen very often, so usually, I do communicate via email. I don't need the post office tampering with the mail. Furthermore:

    "This (secure digital mailbox) is totally different from e-mail. It is comparable to web banking," said Tommi Tikka, development director at state-owned Itella, which runs the Nordic country's postal system.

    So people's mail is stored on some server, probably totally unencrypted and requiring only a login to get in. Cue the hacking and government abuse - I can imagine it now; "We don't need a warrant, it's already in this database. People have no expectation of privacy when sending letters." (IANAL - or rather, "I Am Not A Finnish Lawyer" and really have no ideas of the laws in that country).

    Luckily, this is all on a volunteer basis (for now), and I think from a cost-cutting perspective, it does make sense to reduce the number of deliveries by postman for non-express mail to twice a week since the volume of mail has probably shrunk (I have no statistics for this, solely based on personal experience).

  • Junk Mail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Itninja (937614) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:16PM (#31710050) Homepage
    Political Dissident: Hey, I sent out my anti-government newsletter to 1000 people. But only a few got it. What gives?
    Government: I guess it was mis-tagged as junk mail. Our bad. Sorry it's already been deleted. No, we don't back up junk mail.
    • Re:Junk Mail (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by blair1q (305137) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:42PM (#31710222) Journal

      The government doesn't interfere with such things.

      They just log them, copy them, pass the copy along to the analysts, and deliver the mail, so as not to arouse the suspicions of people who are already paranoid.

      (Kids, if you think there's any reason in the world for the US Government to be running a delivery service, other than that it simplifies intelligence gathering immensely, then you probably didn't go to business school.)

    • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:51PM (#31710314)

      First way to tell if its junk mail: does it say 'resident' (or whatever your language happens to be) in the addressee? Yes? Its junk.

      No? Maybe junk, maybe not.

      If you just throw out the ones with the wrong addressee name for the address or ones that say 'current resident' or variations on that then you've already cut down on 99.9% of the problem with junk mail.

    • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday April 02, 2010 @05:15PM (#31710516)

      Actually, the real problem with junk mail (in the US at least) is that it's the largest source of revenue for the USPS (over 50% of volume!) So it's actually in their interest to keep allowing the horribly wasteful and inefficient practice.

    • by mrmeval (662166) <mrmeval@gm a i l . com> on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:25PM (#31711514) Journal

      In the US "junk mail" PAYS FOR THE POST OFFICE DAMMIT. It pays. It pays. It damn well fucking pays. It is one of the few reasons rural post offices can remain open.

      Couple that with the BTU's that marketers send and it is a double economic whammy!

      In one months time I get enough 'junk mail' that is safely burnable to lower my heating bill about $30. Eh carbon schmarben.

      Some of it is perfect for the masking needed for electrolytic etching of brass and the masking needed for other metals.

      What is not safely burnable can be in some way recycled or has other uses. There's a process that can turn newsprint to micarta like laminate which is durable and other than the paper is non-toxic. It's final toxicity is dependent on the paper.

      I know it's a hideous thought but you can get more junk mail.

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:18PM (#31710068)

    Old idea, new implementation.

    PDFs instead of film negatives.

    • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:44PM (#31710234)

      Yea, except the general public can actually do something with PDFs, where as film negatives are really a pain in the ass to deal with for this purpose.

      True, old idea, new implementation, but its definitely an improvement over the last one.

      • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday April 02, 2010 @05:27PM (#31710596) Homepage Journal

        Yea, except the general public can actually do something with PDFs, where as film negatives are really a pain in the ass to deal with for this purpose.

        Especially if you want them to be really private.

      • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday April 02, 2010 @06:36PM (#31711204)

        film negatives are really a pain in the ass to deal with for this purpose.

        Not so bad when you're set up to process it in bulk. The recipient never got the microfilm negative, of course; he got a print of the image produced by the V-Mail facility. The size was still reduced by 60%, though.

      • by perpenso (1613749) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @05:24AM (#31714468)

        Yea, except the general public can actually do something with PDFs, where as film negatives are really a pain in the ass to deal with for this purpose. True, old idea, new implementation, but its definitely an improvement over the last one.

        The public never saw v-mail films. Film was just the transocean transport media. V-mail was printed on lightweight paper once it got to the U.S. The letter was also folded up to be its own envelope. Or at least thats how the single sheet v-mail based letters my grandmother received were. IIRC it looked like the original letter was written on a special v-mail form not on general purpose paper. Perhaps that made for automated processing. Other letters my grandmother received that were on regular paper and/or were multiple pages were shipped as the original paper rather than v-mail. Or course that might be an army/navy thing. The letters on regular paper were from the navy, the v-mail was from the army.

        --
        Perpenso Calc [perpenso.com] for iPhone and iPod touch, scientific and bill/tip calculator, fractions, complex numbers, RPN

  • by paulcone (1388145) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:20PM (#31710082)
    I thought the postal service MADE money from junk mail?
    • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:47PM (#31710260)

      Depends on how many assholes like me you have to deal with.

      I have a stack of printed 'return to sender' labels laying next to my door. When I get junk mail I put it back in my mailbox with the RTS label on it.

      While thats a little nutty I admit, its better than my original plan which was to shove it down the post mans throat before lighting it on fire. At least I don't got to jail this way, and I'm pretty sure it eats into any profit they might have.

  • Filtering.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by hallucinogen (1263152) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:21PM (#31710086)
    I'm a Finn. I've already got a filter for spam snail mail. I wrote "Ei mainoksia, kiitos" (no adds, please) to a sticker and placed it on top of my mail slot. The only post I get is postcards from friends and relatives twice a decade or so. Everything else is already digital..
    • by fantomas (94850) on Friday April 02, 2010 @05:17PM (#31710532)

      You're a lucky man, Here in the UK it's part of the national post service's business model to accept money from spammers to deliver junk mail. So we get loads of junk mail whether we like it or not. The postal workers recently went on strike because they didn't want to deliver junk mail to people but they got told by the employers they have to, and so have had to back down and accept they must deliver it if they want to keep their jobs.

    • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday April 02, 2010 @06:46PM (#31711284)

      Couldn't do that in the US. A carrier could be fired or even criminally prosecuted if he deliberately failed to deliver a piece of mail legally posted to you. It's called "interfering with the mail" and it's a Federal felony.

      • by andersh (229403) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:45PM (#31711638)

        We have the same law(s) in all of Scandinavia (as well as non-Scandinavian Finland).

        It extends to e-mail as well, you are not allowed to spam consumers by phone, SMS, email or mail unless you already have a direct relationship with them (i.e. they're already customers).

        My government provides a website where you can register your reservation against any form of commercial solicitation. It does however not include charities. All businesses have to update their registers every three months to filter out any new reservations, and it's *their* responsibility to do so. If they break the law there are severe penalties available to the relevant authorities.

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd o t .org> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:34AM (#31713706)

      That’s the wrong way around! I have “Kein Einwurf, ausser:” (“No (mail) droping, except:”) on my mailbox. With a list of exceptions below. Which is: Only normal letters, addressed to me personally. Packets have to be handed over to me personally, since they don’t fit in. Everything else (giving them to neighbors) counts as “not delivered”, and assistance of theft by the mail man.

      I hope to completely remove the mailbox in the future, and put a sign there, saying: Packets: Are to be delivered to me in person (signature-proven). Everything else: Only digitally! (Digitally signed, if needed.)

    • by weicco (645927) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:35AM (#31713712)

      But now after the ParkCom trial you could change your sign to read "Mainoksista laskutetaan 50 euroa kappaleelta. Toimittamalla mainoksen hyväksyt sopimuksen." (Adds will be charged 50 euros/add. By delivering the add you have accepted this aggreement.) and start making money by receiving adds \o/

  • by idji (984038) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:24PM (#31710106)
    Swiss Post and other Post Companies have been providing these types of services to corporate customers for quite a while now. It's all part of Business Process Outsourcing or adding value to your customers.
    • by andersh (229403) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:47PM (#31711658)

      You're missing the point, this is meant to replace postal delivery to all consumers and corporate customers.

      That's very different from your "outsourcing" scenario which I doubt very many buy into. This would be the standard service for all, not some extra service you buy.

  • by Chess Piece Face (247847) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:25PM (#31710114)

    Don't know about Finland, but I mostly use the mail system for packages and magazines. Wouldn't be very happy if service on those items was cut back to a couple of times per week.

    • by spatley (191233) <spatley@yahoo.com> on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:41PM (#31710208) Homepage
      Really? I would happily wait 2 more days for Architectural Digest or the Economist in effort to reduce government spending and national fuel consumption. What possibly are you receiving by regular post that is day-critical?
    • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:50PM (#31710300)

      Really, because you get packages and magazines every day of the week? You must be fast, I don't think I could read 20 or so magazines every single month. You really can't wait up to ... 4 days ... to get something that comes ones a month? Would you have a embolism if the publish just shifted the mailing date back by 4 days?

      And you're sending important things you need to get right away via standard mail rather than FedEx or its equivalent? Really?

      $20 says if no one told you, you'd not notice for months.

    • by CortoMaltese (828267) on Friday April 02, 2010 @05:11PM (#31710468)

      Don't know about Finland, but I mostly use the mail system for packages and magazines.

      There's parody on this [www.hs.fi] in Finland's main paper today. "The organically grown lamb you ordered arrived as an attachment."

  • by wizeman (170426) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:28PM (#31710134)

    This kind of service is already implemented by the national post office in Portugal for a long time.

    It's called ViaCTT [viactt.pt].

    • by andersh (229403) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:52PM (#31711704)

      That's very innovative of Portugal, but the Finns want to use it by default. That's very different from just offering it as an optional service. The Finns want everyone to use it.

      It's actually very logical that the postal services of the world would want to stop wasting time and money on delivering mere documents. It's the box/parcel/package delivery that is profitable and important today.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:30PM (#31710144)
    How are emissions cut when the letters are still delivered? Wouldn't this actually cost more energy since they have to both hand deliver the original mail and use up power scanning and posting the copies? Not to mention the added labor hours required to do so. That looks like a cost increase, not a decrease. And, if they have enough spare employees to where they can actually spend time doing this, would it not be more efficient cost-wise to either just reduce those employees' hours(or move them to part-time) or lay them off altogether?
  • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:31PM (#31710148)
    Hey, if you want a guaranteed private mail service then you should be willing to pay more for it. If there really is that demand out there then the free market will set the price and folks who care will voluntarily comply.
    • by andersh (229403) on Friday April 02, 2010 @08:04PM (#31711788)

      "Welcome to DHL, how may I help you today?"

      "Hello, I'm a lawyer, I need these documents delivered to my client in person."

      On a related note this is Europe, we're mostly socialists here, the "free market" is not that interesting to us. We're more interested in social services, and the postal service is not a profitable operation in most countries. It's a basic service required and paid for by the government. Reducing the cost, without reducing the service level is more important.

  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:36PM (#31710180)

    We pay all our bills on line - barely any incoming bills, no outgoing checks - I have written maybe 3 checks in the last 5 years. e-mail has replaced most of our correspondence. The only thing that shows up in my mailbox is adverts and the magazines I subscribe to, and very occasionally stuff like property tax assessments and 1099s etc.

    How about the postal service let me opt out of getting junk mail delivered? I keep the garbage bin by the mailbox for a reason - only about 5% of what shows up in my mailbox actually survives the walk up the driveway to the house...

  • by syousef (465911) on Friday April 02, 2010 @04:46PM (#31710248) Journal

    ....I'll scan it myself and send a PDF. Volunteer only tends to turn into the way it's done very quickly if costs can be cut at all. Glad I'm not Finnish. Tell your postmaster to stop smoking weed.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday April 02, 2010 @05:24PM (#31710576)

    Some full-service private mailbox facilities will do this for you to - they scan all the snail mail that arrives for you and then email the scans to you. Convenient for maintaining a mailing address if you are on the road a lot or are otherwise far away from your mailing address.

    • by andersh (229403) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:57PM (#31711740)

      You're missing the point, the Finns want to use it by default for everyone. That is a whole lot more innovative than offering it as an optional service.

      It would reduce the frequency of physical postal delivery, saving on delivery costs while maintaining service levels.

      We all know how to scan and email documents, the Postal services of the world aren't blind. Lots of countries offer this as a service, it just doesn't reduce the cost structure of the Postal service.

      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday April 02, 2010 @10:43PM (#31712744)

        You're missing the point, the Finns want to use it by default for everyone.

        Lol, thanks for repeating the article summary for me. I don't know how I ever read it and didn't read it at the same time. If we all just stuck to the exact contents of the article summary there would be no posts here.

        I'm pretty sure you can't name a private mailbox facility that does scan and email without seriously googling for it. The point of my post being that most people are unaware that they can get the personal benefits of that service themselves without involving a government agency. Oh look - government abuse of privacy was actually mentioned in the article, I guess that was part of the original point after all.

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Friday April 02, 2010 @05:42PM (#31710744) Homepage
    birthday cards, valentines, ...
  • by CODiNE (27417) on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:18PM (#31711484) Homepage

    "Heeeey!!! I just figured out how we can get PAID to read Playboys all day!"

  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Friday April 02, 2010 @07:50PM (#31711678) Journal

    The volunteers will have images of all their letters viewable on a computer or phone.

    Wow, I think phones here work differently than those in Finland.

  • by sotweed (118223) on Friday April 02, 2010 @09:12PM (#31712264)

    .. from a company called Earth Class Mail. They receive your mail, send you an image of the envelope, and let you tell them what to do with it: shred it, recycle it, open and scan contents and send PDF, deposit check, etc. The company was the subject of a sort-of documentary last year.

  • by kid_wonder (21480) <public&kscottklein,com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:55AM (#31716624) Homepage

    There was a Seinfeld episode where Kramer went into the post office to stop sending him mail - got me thinking. Why do we have to receive all this crap in a box in our front yard? I pay my bills online or schedule checks from my bank each month. There are few items that I actually open up every month, most go straight into the trash. The items I do open I end up scanning into PDF anyway as invoices or paystubs.

    I actually pay for a service like this: Earth Class Mail [earthclassmail.com], there are few others like this too. They receive your mail and scan the envelope which you access online just like your e-mail, then you can pick it up (inconvenient) or scanned, forwarded or shredded/recycled. It's a bit expensive and I've only been doing it for a couple months but so far so good.

    I have a real street address (no PO Box) which so far no one has balked at: the DMV, my insurance company, voter registration.

    Of course, the reason I am doing this is so that I can live anywhere I want without having to change my address every time I move -- except for magazine subscription (which with the new iPad/eReader devices will hopefully not be needed anymore). I work remote and can take my phone number anywhere I go (skype, vonage, etc) and make or receive calls from my laptop.

Save gas, don't use the shell.

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