USPS offers explainer on information disclosures for employees

The Postal Service wants you to understand the federal law that governs the disclosure of customers’ address information.

Postmasters frequently receive requests for change of address and PO Box holder information.

The Privacy Act of 1974 allows federal agencies to disclose information protected under the law without the written consent of the individual in limited circumstances only, such as an established routine use or a court order to release the information to a third party.

The Postal Service has established Privacy Act routine uses for these instances.

Through these routine uses, this change of address and PO Box holder information can be disclosed in response to specific written requests from process servers when needed for the service of legal documents, and to federal, state and local government and law enforcement agencies for official purposes or in response to court orders.

Process server and government agency requests for address information must be in writing and contain all required information in the standard formats found in Handbook AS-353, Guide to Privacy, the Freedom of Information Act, and Records Management, Exhibits 5-2b and c.

Requests lacking any of the required information or a proper signature must be returned to the requester specifying the deficiency. Additionally, the address of an individual who files — with the Postmaster — a copy of a protective court order cannot be disclosed unless it meets exemptions under the law.

For more information, refer to Handbook AS-353, Section 5-2. You can email questions to the Postal Service’s Freedom of Information Act offices at FOIA12@usps.com or FOIAPAField@usps.com.

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