Here is a reminder reminder that not all Communications Data or Communications Traffic Data is purely about electronic.communications like email or web page surfing or phone calls etc..
According to Reuters:
Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:40am EDT
(Reporting by Jonathan Lynn, editing by Will Waterman)
GENEVA (Reuters) - Swiss bank UBS AG warned U.S. customers by registered mail their account details may be given to U.S. tax authorities, a method that could itself breach secrecy laws, a Swiss paper said on Sunday.
The use of registered mail and envelopes showing the sender was UBS could enable the U.S. authorities to trace customers wanted for tax evasion well before their details are handed over under a U.S.-Swiss double taxation agreement, Sonntag weekly paper said.
Switzerland and the United States settled a row over evasion of U.S. taxes in August when Switzerland agreed to hand over details of 4,450 U.S. accounts at UBS.
But it could take into early 2010 before the first names are handed over under the agreed legal procedures.
Some 7,500 Americans voluntarily disclosed information about hidden overseas assets under a tax amnesty program that expired on October 15, according to the top U.S. tax collector.
UBS had agreed in February to pay $780 million to settle a criminal investigation accusing it of helping American clients evade taxes. At the same it agreed to release the names of about 250 clients in a first breach of Switzerland's banking secrecy.
Sonntag quoted lawyer Andreas Rued, who is representing some U.S. clients of the bank,
Andreas Rüd contact page at Rüd Winkler Partner AG, Rechtsanwälte in Zürich.
as saying the use of registered mail and envelopes showing the name of the bank could constitute a contravention of Switzerland's banking secrecy laws. He said he was considering whether to seek a criminal investigation against the bank.
The United States Postal Service Registered MailTM is entirely computer database tracked, just like in the United Kingdom:
you can verify the date and time of delivery and the delivery attempts online.
These details, and those of any extra delivery options
You can combine Registered Mail with the following Extra Services:
Delivery Confirmation™ - Provides date and time of delivery or attempted delivery.
Signature Confirmation™ - Provides date and time of delivery or attempted delivery, the name of the person who signed for the item, plus signature proof of delivery upon request.
Collect on Delivery (COD) - Allows the postage and price of an item to be collected from the recipient by the USPS and given to the mailer.
Return Receipt - Provides a green postcard with the recipient's actual signature by mail or a proof of delivery letter arriving as a PDF attachment that includes an image of the recipient's signature by e-mail.
Restricted Delivery - Confirms that only a specified person (or authorized agent) will receive a piece of mail. Only available with Certified Mail, Insured Mail over $200, or Registered Mail.
will end up on various USPS and other computer databases, which the US financial and intelligence agencies will have access to, if they can be bothered to ask for it.
Was this a privacy / secrecy cockup or a conspiracy ?
The original (German language) article BRIEF LÄSST KUNDEN AUFFLIEGEN quotes Andreas Rüd as saying that at least one of his clients had specifically requested that mail correspondence not be sent to the United States, so that this was a deliberate act by the Swiss Bank UBS.
To put things in perspective, we are reminded that the incompetent HM Revenue and Customs here in the UK wrote to 23 million people whose names, addresses , National Insurance Numbers (NINOs) and other sensitive personal data details they had lost on a CD-ROM (which was not sent by Registered Post to the Audit Commission), but included most of those details in the "apology letter", several thousand of which were delivered to the wrong addresses . See the previous Spy Blog article HMRC data security scandal debate - still no mandatory use of encryption
Remember that here in the United Kingdom, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Chapter II Acquisition and disclosure of communications data specifically mentions postal services as well as electronic telecommunications or internet service providers.