When is a stamp not a stamp?

That is the thought I was confronted with when I saw an article this morning. It linked to an article to the beginning of the year and it was about stamps, and I initially ignored it (there is only so much I can read), but today I saw the article (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63367733) giving me ‘Royal Mail: 100 days left to use stamps without a barcode’ and this time it held my attention. In the article we see “Royal Mail introduced barcoded stamps in February, saying they would open up possibilities for “new innovative services.” The long-term plan is that people will be able to watch videos, find out information and send birthday messages to each other through the barcodes which can be scanned with the Royal Mail app”, but the implications are a lot larger. 

There are all kinds of intelligence implications not short term, but long term. If it can be paired to this setting, it could also be paired to where that stamp was bought, over time we can connect it to who bought it and that list extents almost indefinitely. QR codes are that solution too and let no lulling of some innocent setting tell you otherwise. It makes sense, the UK has billions of pounds getting shipped through royal mail under the eyes of the police, under the eyes of intelligence and something had to give. There was no other way, and frankly it is kind of ingenious, it seems no one else had the idea and that gives the UK an edge for a much longer time. 

And as I look at the solution, I wonder why no one else hd the idea, I certainly did not. I still mail things at time, but it is rare that I do so and we accepted a stamp as the most mundane of solutions and someone (a Brit no less) decided to evolve the stamp and how it is used. I reckon that someone in GCHQ will also be bucking for a promotion, because if I see this right, the criminals who rely on the mail solution will soon be out of business and that is a victory that should not now or ever be underestimated.  

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Filed under IT, Media, Military, Science

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