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inquisitor (Offline)
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Angry US snail mail surveillance and loss of SIM cards sent to the US - 04-07-2013, 12:43

Hello world,

According to my records I have sent 19 SIM cards by registered letters to fellow forum members since late 2008.

Seven of them were destined for receipients in the USA and twelve for people in other countries. Out of the seven SIM cards sent to the US four (57%) never arrived while the twelve SIM cards sent to other countries (Canada, Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Israel, UK, Sweden, France, Serbia) have all arrived.
What's also remarkable is that the tracking information for all the lost letters shows that they were handed over to USPS before disappearing.

Since foreign SIM cards are known to be a popular method of criminals, terrorists as well as intelligence services to obscur communications I've always been wondering if my high loss rate of SIMs mailed to the US is caused by intentional interception, but it has always seemed to be unlikely to me as SIM cards are too easy to smuggle and interception couldn't really prevent crimes. Actually registering suspicous SIM cards' serial numbers, letting them deliver and then monitoring their usage appeared to be the most reasonable approach to me.

But now that I've read about USPS' surveillance program I fear that the loss of SIM cards I have seen is indeed related to government action.

That is why I would like to ask if anyone else has also experienced such losses of SIM cards sent to the US or if I have just had bad luck.

Cheers


terminals: Samsung: Galaxy S5 DuoS (G900FD); BLU: Win HD LTE; Nokia: 1200; Asus: Fonepad 7 ME372CG; Huawei data: E3372, Vodafone R201, K3765, E1762;
postpaid: O2 on Business XL; prepaid: DE: Aldi Talk, Lidl; UK: 3; BG: MTel, vivacom; RU: MTS; RS: MTS; UAE: du Tourist SIM; INT'L: toggle mobile
VoIP: sipgate.de (German DID); sipgate.co.uk (British DID); ukddi.com (British DID); sipcall.ch (Swiss DID); megafon.bg (Bulgarian DID); InterVoip.com
   
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Default 04-07-2013, 13:29

Presumably, your US letters are automatically tracked/opened/confiscated simply because you have so many foreign sim cards, terminals and voip accounts.

You may be an obvious needle in the US telecoms data-haystack!

Oh no, and now I have also been added to your list of known contacts/associates in the USA.
   
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Default 04-07-2013, 17:38

Americans no longer have any privacy
   
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Default blame the machine - 04-07-2013, 19:38

While I am not one to encourage paranoia, this is a very good question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by inquisitor View Post
I fear that the loss of SIM cards I have seen is indeed related to government action. ..........That is why I would like to ask if anyone else has also experienced such losses of SIM cards sent to the US or if I have just had bad luck.
Some thoughts.
0. Did you normally register mail them?
1. What kind of envelopes do you send the SIM cards in? [see #2]
2. Could it be that whatever machine does this wondrous magic have a tendency to eat SIM cards in envelopes? [Bump in the letter?]
3. They have your name and give you heightened scrutiny?
4. Could you insure them for 10 or 20 Euros, hope they disappear and collect the big bucks?
5. I would tend to believe machine incompetence before human incompetence. An intelligence operation that is so sloppy gets found out sooner than one that is totally transparent.

Is the post office getting paid to do this? Perhaps this is why they lose money.
   
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Default 04-07-2013, 22:11

0. Not sure if I understand your question but I have sent those SIMs as regular registered letters.

1. I have always used windowed envelopes in the international standard "DL" format (110x220mm). The inserted A4-sized pages were addressed using Deutsche Post's online stamp service "Internetmarke" which produces address fields like this:


2. The letters contained just the MiniSIM (2FF) which I had always sticked to the very centre of the inserted page using small photo stickers.

3. I can't see any good reason why I should deserve heightened scrutiny and I would hardly make this public in the contrary case.

4. The letters were insured up to a maximum amount of 30 SDR (special drawing rights, 1 SDR ~ 1.50 USD) but I only received the actual value of the SIM cards plus shipping costs. Actually I have lost a few cents each time because PayPal's refund deadline had exceeded before I was refunded by Deutsche Post and so I had to send slightly more money than I received in order to cover the deducted PayPal fees.

5. Indeed it could just be the American sorting machines that have an issue with the European envelope format or the window position but I assume they would have found out long time ago as this is perhaps the most spread envelope format in Europe and there are probably ten or hundred thousands letters making it over the Pond daily.
Speaking of machines and humans, why do you start numbering with zero?

I'm not a supporter of conspiracy theories either but I wouldn't completely rule out such measures like confiscating suspicous SIM cards that originate from unclassifiable individuals, be it intentionally or by mistake. That's why I ask if anyone has made similar observations.


terminals: Samsung: Galaxy S5 DuoS (G900FD); BLU: Win HD LTE; Nokia: 1200; Asus: Fonepad 7 ME372CG; Huawei data: E3372, Vodafone R201, K3765, E1762;
postpaid: O2 on Business XL; prepaid: DE: Aldi Talk, Lidl; UK: 3; BG: MTel, vivacom; RU: MTS; RS: MTS; UAE: du Tourist SIM; INT'L: toggle mobile
VoIP: sipgate.de (German DID); sipgate.co.uk (British DID); ukddi.com (British DID); sipcall.ch (Swiss DID); megafon.bg (Bulgarian DID); InterVoip.com
   
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Default 04-07-2013, 23:29

Perhaps Deutsche Post gives all online letter postage data to DHS?

Why not use a normal postage stamp the next time?
   
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Default 05-07-2013, 05:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by inquisitor View Post
3. I can't see any good reason why I should deserve heightened scrutiny and I would hardly make this public in the contrary case.
I certainly am not considering you nefarious or worthy of 'heightened scrutiny'.
And many of us using HF probably know 'too much about SIM cards' for many countries authorities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inquisitor View Post
Speaking of machines and humans, why do you start numbering with zero?
I needed to add one item before '1' and that seemed the simplest solution.
[I can't remember the term for a kind of math {Modular arithmetic?} where zero is the first number. Clocks and odometers start with 0!]
   
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Default 05-07-2013, 11:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donal View Post
Perhaps Deutsche Post gives all online letter postage data to DHS?

Why not use a normal postage stamp the next time?
a registered mail letter will be typed into the computer system anyway. If normal stamp or "online stamp" (whereas the post offices usually also print all stamps - the good old licking stamps are nearly died out).


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Default 05-07-2013, 17:01

Registered mail is extremely secure but very slow. I hardly see registered mail disappearing without some explanation being offered. In fact, if there is any proof that the USPS actually received a registered letter and lost it, there would certainly be an investigation by the postal inspectors.

Having said that, I recall that long ago (1950s) there were programs in the Post Office to watch the mail of certain people suspected of "un-American activities." When the program was made public there was a huge public uproar.
   
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Default 05-07-2013, 19:07

Having sent out dozens of registered letters domestically and internationally during the past years I also consider registered mail as extremly secure and even - at least within Germany - as extremly quick. The fact that I have never suffered a loss of a single letter (even not uninsured ones) except for when shipping SIM cards to the US is the big mystery here.


terminals: Samsung: Galaxy S5 DuoS (G900FD); BLU: Win HD LTE; Nokia: 1200; Asus: Fonepad 7 ME372CG; Huawei data: E3372, Vodafone R201, K3765, E1762;
postpaid: O2 on Business XL; prepaid: DE: Aldi Talk, Lidl; UK: 3; BG: MTel, vivacom; RU: MTS; RS: MTS; UAE: du Tourist SIM; INT'L: toggle mobile
VoIP: sipgate.de (German DID); sipgate.co.uk (British DID); ukddi.com (British DID); sipcall.ch (Swiss DID); megafon.bg (Bulgarian DID); InterVoip.com
   
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