Toll Authorities Randomly Inspect 30-40 Letters A Day - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Toll Authorities Randomly Inspect 30-40 Letters A Day

Published December 4, 2014

Toll authorities unsealed 3,722 mail deliveries, categorized as letters, for inspection, during the period from July to November 20th this year. This averages at around 800 inspected letter deliveries per month or between 30 and 40 per each business day. All the deliveries weighed between 0.1 and 2 kg. This was revealed in Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson’s reply to member of Alþingi Birgitta Jónsdóttir inquiry about such actions.

The Minister also informed that “thin letters”, that is letters weighing under 100 g, are never opened by toll authorities unless suspicion arises that their content is illegal. However, authorities open and inspect random samples of mail deliveries weighing over 100 g. without any such suspicion. No court ruling is needed for toll authorities to thus inspect incoming mail, nor is an ongoing criminal investigation.

To Birgitta’s question, whether he considers the practice to in accordance with the Constitution’s Article 71 on the sanctity of privacy, the Minister simply replied “Yes”, without further reasoning.

The total number of letters delivered to the country in the period is around 1.15 million. The Minister’s reply did not note how many of those weighed over 100 g.
Toll authorities do not inspect deliveries within Iceland, only those coming from abroad. Each time a delivery is opened for inspection, a sticker is left on the packaging, noting a number to identify the personnel involved.

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