Forcing Privacy and Respect

As I get older, I increasingly value more-so, my own privacy and expectation of respect from anyone who shows up in my world as a complete stranger, trying to sell me something or to influence me. Generally, it’s the first contact that seems to be the problem. If I go two months without checking my mail (post office mail or e-mail), I want to see only mail from personal friends or from established business relationships (just those few in any month). I never want my phone to ring unless it’s from a personal friend or from an established business relationship. Instead, my phone rings several times each day from solicitors. I get dozens of e-mails per day and I only look at ones that I am expecting. I only open one or two of those hundreds of e-mails per month. I got rid of most postal junk mail by having a secret postal address that is not on any public records and never checking my residential address mail which is on the public record since I am a home owner there. Anyone who I care about (friends, creditors, business associates) use my secret postal address (at a UPS store). That took some effort to get everyone on-board with and worked pretty good until just recently. My voter registration goes to that secret postal mailing address and I am now getting hundreds (literally hundreds) of junk mails from political candidates now. This egregious forcing of attempts to influence me is against my will is becoming more unacceptable as I get older (and I have more assets and am thus a bigger target). If I want to participate in society at all, I have to sort through other people’s crap everywhere I go and with everything I do, just to have that privilege. Does anyone out there feel the same way?

I finally decided that enough is enough. I want to start some kind of privacy service to thwart all of these privacy and respect violators and to set some boundaries that they must respect. The idea is to create closed systems that identify and validate the identities of people by their real first and last names and that have the ability to ostracise them personally for violating the contact preferences of others. I need a way to filter out every phone call that is not from a validated number that can be removed from the system if he or she violates too many people’s contact rules. I need a way to have my postal mail sorted for me so that only verified non-junk senders can get anything delivered to my postal address. The same goes for every e-mail. If everyone in the system has to be validated for their real identity upon every form of contact, then you could make your own contact rules that others would be forced to obey, least they be removed from the closed system and thus, they can’t reach even their own friends (unless the friend makes an exception for them - a potentially embarrassing sutuation). So I check a “no unsolicited mail” in an online form and suddenly, all unwanted postal mail stops showing up in my postal mail box. I check “no telephone solicitations” and suddenly those calls stop too. Those few few that do get through to me end up being ostracused by the whole system and everyone in it. By default, everyone would be blocked from everything to begin with. Then after you join the system and are verified, your privileges in the closed system grow. Eventually, you get your friends and everyone you do business with, in to that closed system. Eventually, most of society is in that system. At that point, reputation is important and many electronic enforcement systems can be put in place. In addition, it could be like e-bay. If you have a bad reputation, no one wants to do business with you. If you treat people well, you are trusted. The first thing I ask a solicitor who calls me blindly is “what is your personal home phone number, the one that your wife or children will answer if I call it?”. They never give it to me. But they all get the point. In such a closed system, every junk phone caller would be giving up that personal information, just by calling you or mailing you something. Corporations could be held accountable too, least they be cut off from communicating with their valued cuatomers. Everyone would find the need to respect the stated boundaries of others. Does this appeal to anyone else other than just me?


That gave me a laugh. Those who call me would, I think, simply not understand the question, either feigning that or genuinely.

I would guess that many people will at least partly agree with what you are trying to achieve. Who among us has not received unwanted, unsolicited contact?

This may vary from country to country but some of what you want can partly be achieved with the assistance of the government, via legislation and legal enforcement.

You appear to be suggesting a unified approach that covers all of postal, phone and email (and other modes of contact). Whether that is practical I don’t know.

“real identity” is problematic - because there are legitimate scenarios where a person wants to conceal his or her real identity. I suppose though that it should be open to you personally to reject all such anonymous contacts.

I think, you will have to hire a secretary to achieve your goals.

By the way, unsolicited post and phone calls are the early signs of surveillance capitalism, where post office and phone company earns additional money by selling your address/phone number. And they charge you for not selling it. The evil opt-out schema is older then you think. It’s older then I think, too.


Call it: Getoffmylawn dot org.

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For Post Office U.S. Mail. It is my understanding if the mail is marked (stamped) refused it goes back to the sender & they must pay the postage. Not sure this is the case but someone hear or at Post Office should be able to confirm.
I feel much the same as you concerning unsolicited Mail, Email & phone calls. Have a Blessed Day

The USPS FAQ site (which has questions on refusing unaicited mail) requires cookies to be enabled to view. Maybe @Dwaff is right.

This is true. Refuse the mail and it has to go back to the sender on their dime.

Seems this would justify the cost of a “Return to Sender” Stamp :thinking:

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RTS doesn’t really solve the problem though, does it? Many companies won’t care that it came back. They will completely ignore it, won’t remove you from their mailing list and won’t care about the dime that they wasted. Worse still, many companies will be using an external mailing house so they won’t even see what came back.

Unless it is First Class, then it goes back for free.

Some ideas: one disposable email per contact, force audio to be done async over email. Not impossible, just need the right tools.

Sort of like a electronic one time pad? The recipient would need a duplicate pad.

I like the RTS idea. If millions of people used an RTS stamp daily and it costs the sender money, I might actually be willing to look at every piece of mail, just long enough to stamp it and dump it back in to the mail system.

One additional source of the problem has to do with how bold the senders are. Any time you fill out a loan application, there is this section on information sharing. It’s labeled “How we share your information”. There are some check boxes to opt out of certain types of information sharing. For some types of information sharing they simply inform you of how they intend to use your information and that the law allows it whether or not you agree and that law only requires that you be informed of how they will use it. You don’t have to sign. But if you don’t sign it, you can’t buy a new car or re-finance your house unless you pay cash. I remember thinking “how brazen is this?”. In a new business relationship with someone, you inform the person about your legal rights to harass the hell out of them and share their personal information with others in the future as a part of the deal and then ask them to “sign right here”. And we put up with this crap. We agree and sign only because not enough people will say “no” to it. If this were to be fifty years ago, everyone would look at the lender as a criminal (quite literally) and refuse to sign.

Maybe we need to add banking to the new closed system if it ever gains traction. You can either get your loan from the institution that vows to respect your privacy rights per conreact, or you can get your loan from the bank that informs you of their legal right to sell your personal information and to harass you themselves, your choice.


I completely agree and I may start a project doing something like this (although the scale of what you are saying would be difficult, something like this could be done at a personal level where you basically get to say yay/nay to every sender that sends you an email or phone call, or even setup a blacklist)…

In the mean time, one solution that I have been using is called Anonaddy. It’s really cheap and they have a free plan, you can basically just come up with random email addresses (i.e. [anything you want] and use them for websites, and it is forwarded back to your main inbox.

Not only does this allow you to know who sold your data out (If you put the company name in the beginning of the email), but you can also disable email addresses if they start to become spam targets. I’ve been using it with ProtonMail for the last year or so, and it has really helped me. They also offer encryption so you can have your forwarded messages be encrypted when they are coming from Anonaddy to ProtonMail.

As for phone calls, I use a whitelist app that just blocks your call if you aren’t in my contacts list.

Postal mail is the hardest. Return to sender is an option, but most companies don’t care. It is very time consuming, but contacting a corporate office and getting to the higher levels of a company is often an effective way to get them to stop sending you mail, but it can take hours per company.

I would also suggest looking into DeleteMe for removing your name/address/phone number from the internet. That also helped cut down on the calls I recieve.

It is very unfortunate that in order to use these services, we actually have to spend time and money to make them bearable, but at least the options exist.


Or who got hacked.

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so you want to force privacy and respect huh ? some fascist you are :sweat_smile:

btw i’ve recently came upon this > < not my favorite kind of web-site but no wiki page yet so …

well that too…

or both ? :joy:

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RTS doesn’t cost the sender extra money, they’re just out the cost of the stamp, which they would have been anyway. And USPS will only return mail sent as First Class. If you have Presorted Standard (i.e. junk mail) they still take it if you mark it RTS, but they just throw it away.

I used to meet up with a friend every month or two. We would bring all of our junk mail and a bottle of whiskey. While we enjoyed the fine libation, we would create on stack of prepaid envelopes and another stack of the junk mail contents. More whiskey, thoroughly shuffle the piles… more whiskey and randomly stuff and seal the envelopes… more whiskey and then a nice stroll to the nearest mail drop. We got a real kick out of making them waste their money and time (postage and opening) … ON SOMEBODY ELSE’s JUNK MAIL.

I know, whiskey makes everything better, but it was truly poetic justice.

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