When I lived in Germany during the '80's, I used to get a lot of mail from East Germany (don't ask).
All of it had a little cross on the back of the envelope because the senders knew that unless they put some sort of seal on it, it would be opened and read by the State - for their own protection of course.
Within ten years, they decided enough is enough and threw the totalitarians out.
So I read with interest this morning:
Officers will be allowed to intercept any suspicious mail anywhere in the country and open it before it is delivered, under plans being drawn up by the Government to amend the Postal Services Act.
The measure is billed as a bid to crack down on tobacco smuggling. However, a HM Revenue and Customs spokesman said the powers could be applied much more widely.
Currently, Royal Mail staff have a legal right to intercept suspicious letters and parcels in mail centres and sorting offices and pass them to HM Revenue and Customs.
Tax inspectors must then notify the addressee and agree a mutually acceptable time to open the letter or parcel, before deciding whether to take any enforcement acdtion.
However the Government is now proposing to remove the legal requirement which will now allow inspectors to open suspicious post without asking permission first.
We have become East Germany.