The policy includes detailed explanations of how we provide:
Notice of our privacy practices, including Privacy Act rights ›
Your choices and preferences ›
Security features and service provider controls ›
How you can access your personal information ›
Where to submit inquiries ›
Web technology (such as cookies) to make the site operate effectively ›
Online protections for children ›
The Postal Service collects personal information from you and from your transactions with us. We use information we collect to provide you certain products and services, and if needed to respond to your inquiries or requests for information. We occasionally collect data about you from financial entities to perform verification services and from commercial sources. We do this, for example, to prepopulate data fields in call centers to facilitate transactions, or to market products to consumers who have agreed to receive such messages.
Privacy Act Rights
The Postal Service follows the privacy requirements of the Privacy Act, which protects your personal information that we maintain in what is called a system of records. A system of records is a file, database, or program from which personal information is retrieved by name or other personal identifier. In other words, the Privacy Act applies when we use your personal information to know who you are and to interact with you – such as when you provide information to request a product or service, register on usps.com, or submit an inquiry or complaint. The Privacy Act provides comprehensive protections for your personal information. This includes how information is collected, used, disclosed, stored, and discarded.
When we collect and maintain personal information from you offline, a Privacy Act notice will be provided. The following is your Privacy Act notice for personal information collected online:
Privacy Act notice: Your information will be used to provide you requested products, services, or information. Collection is authorized by 39 USC 401, 403, & 404. Providing the information is voluntary, but if not provided, we may not process your transaction. We do not disclose your information to third parties without your consent, except to facilitate the transaction, to act on your behalf or request, or as legally required. This includes the following limited circumstances: to a congressional office on your behalf; to financial entities regarding financial transaction issues; to a USPS auditor; to entities, including law enforcement, as required by law or in legal proceedings; to domestic and international customs relating to outgoing international mail pursuant to federal law and agreements; and to contractors and other entities aiding us to fulfill the service (service providers).
Click below for more information on Privacy Act protections.
Information Collected from Emails and Online Forms
Many of our programs and websites allow you to send us an email. We will use the information you provide to respond to your inquiry, provide information, or to fill your order for postal products and services in which you have expressed an interest.
Remember that email may not necessarily be secure against interception. If your email communication is very sensitive, or includes information such as your bank account, charge card, or social security number, you should send it by mail unless the Web site indicates the particular site is secured.
Information Collected and Stored Automatically
We automatically collect certain information about your visit to usps.com. We limit the data collected to meet specific business needs and to fully protect your privacy. We thus may know what path(s) you took on usps.com, but we don’t know who you are. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, we do not use this information to identify you personally without your express consent.
We automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:
How Data Is Collected - Cookies and Other Web Analysis Tools
We understand that you may have questions about Web technology and information that is collected as you surf or conduct business online. The Postal Service has very strict policies about Web analysis tools. Such tools include what are known as cookies and Web beacons.
The Postal Service uses a third-party analytics provider (currently Google Analytics Premium) to analyze data from cookies. The third-party analytics provider does not receive personally identifiable information through these cookies and is prohibited from combining, matching or cross-referencing usps.com information with any other information. We have also limited the provider’s ability to see your full IP address (a process known as “IP masking”). Please refer to Google Analytics security and privacy principles for more information.
The Postal Service strictly limits the types of analysis tools allowed, the data collected, and how long the tools last, in order to best serve your business needs and also safeguard your privacy. The types of Web analysis tools we use are fully explained below, and in the attached letter from the Postmaster General.
Read the Postmaster General's letter on Cookie Usage.
Cookies may be categorized as session or persistent, which describes the length of time that they stay on your system. Both session and persistent cookies are used on this site. The following are detailed descriptions of how we use these cookies.
A session cookie is a small piece of textual information that a server places temporarily on your browser during the time your browser is open. The cookies are erased once you close all browsers. We use session cookies in the following manner:
A persistent cookie is a small piece of text stored on your computer’s hard drive for a defined period of time, after which the cookie is erased. We do not collect or link to personal information through persistent cookies without your express consent. We use persistent cookies as follows:
A Web beacon, also referred to as a clear gif or page tag, consists of code on the USPS site that delivers a small graphic image from another Web site or third party server. They may not be visible as the beacon is generally a 1x1 pixel that is often designed to blend into the background of a Web page.
We use beacons, often in conjunction with cookies, to monitor the effectiveness of ad banners; and to gather general log, statistical, and referral information. We do not use beacons to store or link to personal information. We thus use beacons to understand certain actions that you took (such as a purchase), but not to know who you are.
Third Party Web Analysis Tools
The Postal Service does not allow Web analysis tools to be used by third parties, except for service providers who help us in performing site analysis or providing a particular product, service, or advertisement. Service providers may use session cookies, just like the USPS does, solely to improve the use of the site. Service providers may only use persistent cookies and beacons if specifically approved by the USPS, which uses must comply fully with this policy.
Data Derived from Web Analysis Tools
We are careful to safeguard any data derived from cookies and beacons. No data derived from session cookies, or from the log-off persistent cookie, are retained. Data derived from other persistent cookies and beacons are retained behind the USPS firewall or a secure firewall of our service provider.
Opting Out of Web Analysis Tools
If you still have concerns about cookies, you may choose to opt out of their use.
Ad banner cookies – You can opt out of ad banner cookies, without erasing or altering other cookies. If you opt out of these cookies, we will no longer track any information from ad banners related to a specific user’s visit. By clicking below, you will be taken to a third party site that explains how to opt out.
Opting out of all cookies – You may choose to opt out of the use of all cookies. You will still be able to access most features of usps.com. However, certain features may not work as well or may be unavailable to you. You will not be able to register or purchase from usps.com because we need cookies to keep track of your shopping cart and to process your transaction.
The Postal Service believes in permission-based marketing. We do not sell, rent, or otherwise provide your personal information to outside marketers. You will only receive marketing about products and services of the Postal Service or its partners, other than products and services you already receive or are registered for, under the following conditions.
Consumers may opt-in, and businesses may opt-out, when they register on usps.com and create a customer profile. These preferences in the profile can be changed at any time. Please contact the privacy office at the addresses below with any questions about your preferences.
In those instances where we secure your personal information in transit to us and upon receipt, the Postal Service uses the industry standard encryption software, Secured Socket Layer (SSL). The URL in your browser will change to “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” when this security feature is invoked. Your browser may also display a lock symbol on its bottom task bar line to indicate this secure transmission is in place.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, the Postal Service employs software programs to monitor network traffic in order to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits other than those uses identified in this policy. Unauthorized modification or misuse of information stored in this system will be investigated and may result in criminal prosecution.
U.S. Postal Service® information systems may be protected by EINSTEIN cybersecurity capabilities, under the operational control of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). Electronic communications with the Postal Service may be scanned by government-owned or contractor equipment to look for network traffic indicating known or suspected malicious cyber activity, including malicious content or communications. Electronic communications within the Postal Service will be collected or retained by US-CERT only if they are associated with known or suspected cyber threats. US-CERT will use the information collected through EINSTEIN to analyze the known or suspected cyber threat and help the Postal Service and other agencies respond and better protect their computers and networks.
For additional information about EINSTEIN capabilities, please see the EINSTEIN program-related Privacy Impact Assessments available on the DHS cybersecurity privacy website http://www.dhs.gov/files/publications/editorial_0514.shtm#4, along with other information about the federal government's cybersecurity activities.
The Postal Service enters into relationships with service providers in order to provide the highest quality product or service. Service providers may include an entity that provides assistance for the program, such as a call center; a provider of advertising services; or a partner for the program. The USPS holds service providers to the same rigorous standards of privacy that apply to the USPS, including being made subject to the Privacy Act and USPS privacy policies. Service providers that have access to personal information are also subject to security review.
If you have provided personal information to us, you may request to review the information that we have maintained. Please contact the program office that provided you the product or service, the office that handled your inquiry, or the privacy office at the addresses below. We will correct or delete any inaccurate information upon your request.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail us at:
US POSTAL SERVICE
475 L'ENFANT PLZ SW RM 9431
WASHINGTON DC 20260-1101
We will investigate and respond to your inquiry. Your inquiry will be treated confidentially and will be protected under the Privacy Act.
Information from Children
From time to time as part of a special Postal Service promotion, such as stamp collecting, we may request information from children under 13 years of age. We will do so only with parental notice and consent. We will take all necessary steps to protect the privacy and safety of any child participating, in accordance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Postal Service Collection of Information from Children
We will post a notice that we are requesting information from children including the type of information, how we will use it, whether it will be forwarded to a third party, and a contact at our Web site for questions. We will utilize the information only for the given Postal Service promotion. We will not condition a child’s participation in an event on the provision of more information than is absolutely necessary for that promotion. An example of such a promotion could be a stamp-collecting program that might be of interest to children.
Obtaining Verifiable Parental Consent
We will use reasonable effort to obtain verifiable parental consent prior to the collection and use of personally identifiable information from children under 13. The method of parental consent verification may vary according to the event in which the child wishes to participate. Means of obtaining such consent may include, but are not limited to, offline consent such as printing and submitting a permission form by mail or fax, or online consent that contains a verifiable unique identifier such as a credit card.
The U.S. Postal Service will allow parents to review any personal information collected from their children, based on verifying the identity of the consenting parent. Parents may revoke their consent and delete information collected from their children at their discretion. The Postal Service will then stop collecting, using, or disclosing information from that child, and will end that child’s participation in that event if such information is necessary to continue. We will also alert parents if the event or activity changes either the type of information collected or the way in which the site uses the information.
When Parental Consent is Not Required
We do not require parental consent in order to collect and use online contact information to:
Notification to Children
The U.S. Postal Service will provide a prominent notice to children describing in age appropriate terms what personally identifiable information will be collected, and explain the need for those children to obtain parental consent before sharing their information.