Brad Feld

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Patriot Act Nonsense

Dec 19, 2005
Category Random

I just got a call from Morgan Stanley.  Apparently the account that I have there – which has a P.O. Box as an address – now needs a non-P.O. Box mailing address.  According to the account service rep that I talked to, this is due to the Patriot Act.

Now – here’s the conundrum.  I do not have a “non P.O. Box address”.  While my house theoretically has an address, the USPS will not deliver mail to me since I live behind gate at the back end of a state park and they won’t deliver mail to me.  If one sends mail to my home address, it ends up at the post office where I have my P.O. Box, at which point the postmistress stamps it with a message that says something like “Not A Valid Address” and returns the mail (ok – sometimes she breaks the rules – she likes us – but we still get the stamp.)

It’s crazy – the government now insists on a physical address for mail, bypassing a federal institution (the Post Office).  However, the federal institution (the Post Office) considers my physical address invalid and rejects the mail.  The Patriot Act has created an infinite loop for me!  Of course, being a good nerd I figured out a solution to this problem, but I’m not sharing it just in case someone from the government (or something the Patriot Act is supposed to protect us against) is reading this.