Magazine article Insight on the News

Postal Service OIG Reports Security Breaches

Magazine article Insight on the News

Postal Service OIG Reports Security Breaches

Article excerpt

Since Insight first reported on the U.S. Postal Service's customer-surveillance program "Under the Eagle's Eye," in which postal clerks are trained that "it's better to report 10 legal transactions than to let one illegal transaction get by" (see "Postal Service Has Its Eye on You," July 2-9), the Postal Service has assured us that innocent customers have nothing to fear. Postal officials say the computer system that stores reports of "suspicious transactions" for money orders, cash cards and, sometimes, electronic postage (see "news alert!" July 23) is strictly controlled.

But there have been a few breaches of security, according to reports by the Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In 1998, the OIG reported that five employees of a contractor that was developing the computer system did not have "sensitive clearances." The OIG stated that "such clearances are designed to ensure that compromise of sensitive information does not occur." The OIG also faulted postal officials who "planned to provide USPS data-entry clerks inappropriate ... system access levels," including "access to money orders and money-order status. …

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