USPS Official: New Products Will Have Privacy Policies

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The U.S. Postal Service's chief privacy officer said last week that as new postal products are developed they will include privacy policies.

"The postal service is a trusted business that seeks to develop modern products and services to meet customer needs," Zoe Strickland said at the International Association of Privacy Professionals meeting in Chicago. "Part of that equation includes best-in-class privacy policies."

She cited Intelligent Mail, a new initiative that features optional tracking services.

"With these services, the mailer will have better and faster information about their mail pieces as they move through the postal system," Strickland said.

"We have developed a sound privacy policy for Intelligent Mail which is in keeping with our trusted brand," she said. "It covers both the mail and the mailer. Mailers are identified only if they choose to register for a service."

When fully developed, Intelligent Mail will let mailers choose from a suite of services. A current example is the Confirm Service, begun in September 2002, which provides tracking of letters and flats for participating business customers.

"With Intelligent Mail, the postal service does not intend to require sender identification for every piece of mail," the chief privacy officer said. "Mailer identification, which is voluntary, is needed for the postal service to provide information to the mailer as part of the service."

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