Via the Independent Journal Review:
As if Americans needed one more reason to dislike the post office, now comes word that it wants to begin mining and selling private data gathered from our personal mail.
USPS chief marketing and sales officer Nagisa Manabe recently told the PostalVision 2020 conference that the post office is “actively looking for ways to build new business lines around what not long ago might have been considered science fiction.”
While some of Manabe’s ideas included useful fixes like new delivery systems and partnerships, one idea stands out as troubling: selling data collected from observations of personal mail – sent and received – by potential every person in the country.
He described a scenario in which a woman test drives two different types of cars at two different dealerships, while trying to decide which one to buy.
“We’re at the point where, all too soon… We’re going to know exactly that she was shopping at two different car dealers looking at cars, and both of those car dealers should be mailing her communication about that vehicle, right? And we’re there now, folks. I mean, you all know this.
There are dozens of folks out there who are supplying that kind of information. If we’re not testing and exploring some of that together, we should.”
Manabe said the “marketing opportunity” is too big for USPS to pass up:
“As we know more and more about how consumers are traveling around and making their decisions, it behooves us to get involved and actually send them information to actually close the deal. For me, it’s all about speed and accuracy of the mail.”
May I be frank, Mr. Manabe? First of all, it’s none of your business where I shop, what I shop for or what I buy. Secondly, I neither want, nor need, your help in making buying decisions. Thirdly, what I do want is to be waited on in a timely and efficient manner whenever I’m forced to stand in line at the post office when there’s no other option.
Additional, Mr. Manabe, do you really think Americans will be receptive to the US Postal Service gathering data from their personal mail – and selling it, no less? Really? Hey, at least the NSA isn’t in it for a profit.