USPS Give Law Enforcement Unauthorized Access to Consumer Information

( – The United States Postal Service (USPS) is apparently the path of least resistance to police and law enforcement looking to get information, after it was discovered that the Postal Service has been routinely granting law enforcement requests for information even without a court order or a warrant requiring them to do so.

A congressional probe has reportedly unearthed the fact that federal and local law enforcement agencies have sent more than 60,000 requests for information to the USPS from the period spanning 2015 to 2023, and the agency has almost always granted the request, at a 97% approval rate.

According to reports, the agencies who made the most information requests from the USPS include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The trend has raised alarm bells in a number of legislators. Democratic Oregon Senator Ron Wyden told reporters that the fact that the Postal Service is effectively “rubber stamping” the “warrantless surveillance” on thousands of Americans every year is worrisome. He added that the USPS should adhere to the established practice for law enforcement to secure a court order before granting access to information – which is already required for requests for emails and text messages.

In its defense, Gary Barksdale, the chief postal inspector, said that the Postal Service only granted requests on an individual basis, stressing that there was no “large scale surveillance” being done on USPS customers. All requests were granted, Barksdale said, in the interest of helping federal, state, and local law enforcement entities “carry out their missions and protect the American public.”

Still, a bipartisan group of senators comprised of Wyden, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sent a letter to the USPS asking that agency start to require law enforcement agencies to provide a relevant court order before granting them access to customer information.

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