The active device would be a low power electronic device that is designed to log any attempt either failed or successful to view or tamper with the contents of a parcel from the time it leaves the sender until the time the intended receiver is deciding whether or not to take delivery of the parcel (they could scan the device from a distance using Bluetooth on there phone to check if there had been any questionable activity).

How would this device fare from a legal standpoint both domestically (either Australia or elsewhere) and when sent internationally?

While not explicitly intended to snoop on postal workers or anyone else specifically it would include the capabilities to listen in on its surroundings in order to perform its primary task, additionally it may log its location for the duration of the journey.

Also obviously it will require a power source - while Lithium ion batteries are restricted I believe that under a certain size there still able to be sent, at least by Australia Post unless I am miss interpreting there website. But I don't know about other countries - are there restrictions on non rechargeable power devices?

  • Can't comment due to insufficient reputation, but this very experiment has been done by Popular Mechanics in the US: popularmechanics.com/technology/reviews/a6284/…
    – Gascoyne
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 7:04
  • Thanks that link is an interesting read for me, although I doubt the author had the same legal concerns I do since they only announced it after the fact - I'm concerned with going through the trouble of product development only to find out down the track there not legal to transport
    – norlesh
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 7:21
  • 1
    A number of such solutions already exist. While this does not make it legal or not, it may be useful - have a browse of sendum.com/pt300-package-tracker/who-buys - I'd also submit that provided the sender is aware its being tracked, a parcel has no expectation of privacy...
    – davidgo
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


What can be sent through the mails depends on the current postal regulations. Computers, which include long term batteries and various other electronics, are routinely mailed. A device actively engaged in "listen[ing] in on its surroundings" might fall afoul of anti-evsedropping and anti-wiretap laws. But I don;t know of specific caselaw on the point.

  • How doe's Google and Apple fair with those anti-eavesdropping laws? (the option for there phone devices to monitor its surroundings in order to perform speech recognition are enabled in the factory defaults I believe - even when the user hasn't selected to use speech recognition features)
    – norlesh
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 6:53
  • @norlesh I don't know. If the owner has the option to disable such features that might be enough, or if they don't report to any human but the owner. I don't knew of a case on this poinbt. Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 7:03

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