SpyBlog recently got a postcard from the Brocken, the highest mountain in the Hartz mountains in northern Germany.
The post card from the Brockenhaus has the motto Augen auf und durch ("eye up and through"). There is a square hole cut into the centre of the card, which you are supposed to hold up to your eye.
Whose creepy "all seeing eye of Sauron" is peering through the image ?
N.B. the new proposed Draft Communications Data Bill and the exisiting Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 cover the dissemination of Communications Traffic Data regarding Postcards i.e. who sent what, to whom, when and where from / where to.
RIPA also uses the term Communications Providers for Interception purposes, which includes not only telecommunications and internet service provider companies, but also public postal services and parcel couriers etc.
Most of the idle chatter on Twitter and in mainstream media forums about sending letters or postcards (which also supply DNA , fingerprint and other forensic clues to investigators or snoops) instead of electronic communications, so as to preserve privacy and / or anonymity, is either misinformed or is deliberate propaganda.
Currently under RIPA this only applies public postal operator or postal services providers, but the NuLabour style Communications Data Bill if passed, would allow any company, even those outside the telecomms or postal sectors, to be designated by the Home Office, simply by Order i.e. without proper debate or the opportunity for amendments, and have the huge burden of "not needed for business use" snooping and monitoring inflicted on them and their customers,
What is new in the Communications Data Bill regarding postal services, is that by treating them exactly like telecommunications companies, they will now be subjected to the 12 month Data Retention "for Filtering" aspect, which is something not covered by the European Union Data Retention Directive, implemented by the The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009, which only apply to telecommunications and internet Communications Providers.
The exposed Brocken plateau is now in a national park and has a narrow gauge railway, with steam engines, popular with tourists, rather like Snowdonia in north Wales.
Due to its height it is also the site of television transmitters and microwave relays.
However, during the Cold War, its proximity to the East / West German border meant that it was also used by the Soviet military for electronic warfare listening on western military units.
The Brockenhaus information centre for the Hartz National Park, is situated in the converted "Stasi Mosque" (Stasi-Moschee), topped with a fibreglass radome , which was formerly a WW2 radar station and then a TV / Radio transmitter and then an electronic snooping station capable of picking up analog mobile car phones, police and military frequencies etc. in West Germany.
There were plenty of other NATO listening stations on the other side of the border doing exactly the same sort of thing i.e. spying on East Germany, but also on West Germany e.g. on the second highest mountain in the Hartz mountains Wurmberg just across the valley and border and at the nearby Stöberhai (both now demolished).
The Stasi snoopers of yesteryear would be astonished by the level of state data trawling surveillance which our supposedly democratic Western liberal government is inflicting on millions of innocent people.
Maybe the Communist police state bureaucracy mentality actually won the Cold War after all.