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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Patriot Act Nonsense

Comments (17)

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.

  • http://www.coveryourasp.net James Shaw

    Here’s one that you don’t have to keep secret – I use my local MailBoxes, Etc who offer boxes with one important difference – it’s a real address. So I never have the non-PO Box issue since officially it isn’t one.

    Of course, these stores are certainly rarer than post offices, so if you’re in the boondocks..sorry.

  • http://www.stopthejunkmail.com Bill Brown

    Try a service that acts as your address. All mail is forwarded to them. They scan it and post online for viewing. Like http://www.remotecontrolmail.com

  • http://www.b5media.com Jeremy Wright

    I’d be interested in hearing about it, since I’m in a nearly identical situation…

    I’ve thought of putting it as an Apt#, to get past the patriot act side of things, and then paying the post office to forward all mail for that address to my PO Box…

    I’m hoping your solution is slightly less … clunky, though.

  • http://smartstartup.typepad.com Peter

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
    ~ H. L. Mencken

    GOP = The Party of Perpetual Fear

  • Terry Gold

    What keeps you, or the terrorists for that matter, from just getting an “address” at a remailer? Like many of the “security” rules that have been enacted, they only frustrate the good people and do little to really improve security.

    It’s also funny that two of the google ads on this page are for people wanting to get a job at the Post Office. I guess they are going to need more people since they will be delivering more of the mail twice.

  • http://www.rogelsview.com/?p=70 It looks obvious

    Catch 22

    This is a mast read post describing how the government creates regulations that contradict each other.
    "It’s crazy – the government now insists on a physical address for mail, bypassing a federal institution (the Post Office). …

  • Dave Jilk

    Did you check the claim made by the rep at Morgan Stanley? Not to defend the government or anything, but I have found that frequently companies will blame their own rules on federal government regulations — people are much less inclined to argue. If they word it carefully… “it’s because of the Patriot Act” … what they might mean is “because of the Patriot Act, it’s somehow cheaper or easier for us to comply if we make YOU do the work.”

  • Aaron

    >GOP = The Party of Perpetual Fear

    Hmmm… many, many Democrats voted
    for the PATRIOT act.

    Citation: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=107&session=1&vote=00313

  • virgilio

    The question is: Who protects the people from a dumb legislator?

  • Jerry

    Brad Feld now starring as Winston Smith.

  • Tmpfile

    Capital One pulled the same crap with us concerning our credit card.

    They informed us our credit card would be canceled if we did not give them a physical address.

    We never complied and they never cut our credit card service.

    I am guessing this is a color of law bluff on the part of the credit card and baking industry. I would definitely like to see the section of the Patriot Act that compels them to do this cause I can not seem to find it.

  • Whip

    I have yet to see someone post the exact verbage that this is required. All they tell you is that it says it and is required yet provide no proof.

  • Grady

    When someone asks for your physical address, they want the address that is assigned to the property, such as the 911 address, if you were in need of the fire dept. or police dept, at your house, i don't think your p.o. box would do them any good.
    Any business that asks, has the ability to enter a mailing address as well as a physical address. There is no need to (get around) anything. Just make sure they have both. You will be in compliance for them and continue to receive your mail.

  • Tracy

    Paypal is doing same thing to me-but ONLY place I get mail as am in small town is the post office-my bank account is hooked up to it, ebay, everything as that’s where I go to get my mail everyday. In August, my debit card to access my own debit account there as I sell on ebay, they are refusing to send new card until i change such-I don’t have anywhere to get mail-all’s been fine for 2 years, suddenly they want physical address but there isn’ t one

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