The U.S. Postal Service agreed to nearly 50,000 law-enforcement requests last year to secretly monitor Americans’ mail. According to a 2014 audit, the Postal Service acquiesced to the thousands of requests to spy without officials providing an adequate reason or proper written authorization. The surveillance occurred under mail covers, a program that is more than a century old but currently provides far more extensive inspection of citizens’ mail than previously believed. The audit revealed significant concerns about the safeguards to protect citizens’ privacy and security. “Insufficient controls could hinder the Postal Inspection Service’s ability to conduct effective investigations, lead to public concerns over privacy of mail, and harm the Postal Service’s brand,” according to the audit report, which was posted in May.