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Creating a Secure Postal Network: The Politics of Post-Anthrax Security

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Abstract:

The 2001 anthrax attacks transformed the US postal network into site of uncertainty and danger. Five individuals died as a result of anthrax exposure, while 17 individuals were infected. The initial costs of the attacks, in terms of sanitation and lost revenue, were estimated at $2.5 billion. In this paper, I review the creation and implementation of new biohazard security technologies within the postal network. The paper examines the deployment of the Biohazard Detection System (BDS) and Intelligent Mail suite of services and considers the ways in which a cross-section of interest groups, including postal labor, large-volume mailers, postal management, and defense contractors, attempt to define new security practices. The paper traces the politics inscribed within the architecture of new control technologies through archival research conducted at the Smithsonian Institution and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The paper concludes that the BDS created a bifurcated mailstream that shifted the costs and burdens of security to general mail users, while exempting large-volume, commercial, mailers. Additionally, Intelligent Mail’s surveillance technologies are designed to not only provide law enforcement with mailing data, but undergird the shift away from career employees in favor of the adoption of temporary labor. Theoretically, the paper draws from the work of Ulrich Beck and notions of “securitization” to consider the way novel risks support new political interventions.
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Association:
Name: 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions
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http://www.4sonline.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518120_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Ellis, Ryan. "Creating a Secure Postal Network: The Politics of Post-Anthrax Security" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions, Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, OH, Nov 02, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518120_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ellis, R. N. , 2011-11-02 "Creating a Secure Postal Network: The Politics of Post-Anthrax Security" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting - Abstract and Session Submissions, Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Center Hotel, Cleveland, OH <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p518120_index.html

Publication Type: Paper Abstract
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The 2001 anthrax attacks transformed the US postal network into site of uncertainty and danger. Five individuals died as a result of anthrax exposure, while 17 individuals were infected. The initial costs of the attacks, in terms of sanitation and lost revenue, were estimated at $2.5 billion. In this paper, I review the creation and implementation of new biohazard security technologies within the postal network. The paper examines the deployment of the Biohazard Detection System (BDS) and Intelligent Mail suite of services and considers the ways in which a cross-section of interest groups, including postal labor, large-volume mailers, postal management, and defense contractors, attempt to define new security practices. The paper traces the politics inscribed within the architecture of new control technologies through archival research conducted at the Smithsonian Institution and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The paper concludes that the BDS created a bifurcated mailstream that shifted the costs and burdens of security to general mail users, while exempting large-volume, commercial, mailers. Additionally, Intelligent Mail’s surveillance technologies are designed to not only provide law enforcement with mailing data, but undergird the shift away from career employees in favor of the adoption of temporary labor. Theoretically, the paper draws from the work of Ulrich Beck and notions of “securitization” to consider the way novel risks support new political interventions.


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