The 2001 Anthrax Attacks led the USPS to begin scanning and tracking our postal mail. All USPS mail is photographed and/or scanned as it passes through sorting machines and sent on its way. This mass surveillance program is called Mail Isolation Control and Tracking, or MICT for short.

Eventually (in 2017), the USPS decided to share this bevy of information with its customers, in the form of a program called Informed Delivery. If you sign up for Informed Delivery, you can get a preview of your mail that will arrive later that day. This service is free to all eligible addresses, and you can sign up at this site. Typically, you will receive an email each morning, showing an image of all mail arriving that day, but they also appear to offer a text notification option, too!

I can see so many uses for this tool. If you have a problem with missing mail, it might give extra information about where it is getting lost. If you aren’t at your residence every day, it can give you a heads-up when something important has arrived. It might also help you intercept a birthday present that’s arriving for your spouse. And so on.

It even works for some PO Boxes, but you must try to sign up at their website to find out if your address is currently eligible.