39 CFR § 265.14 - Rules concerning specific categories of records.

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§ 265.14 Rules concerning specific categories of records.

(a) Records available to the public on request. Except as otherwise proscribed by law or regulations, including but not limited to paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, § 265.2 and § 265.11-§ 265.13, Postal Service records will be made available to any person in accordance with the procedures provided in § 265.3.

(b) Information not subject to mandatory public disclosure. Certain types of information are exempt from mandatory disclosure under exemptions contained in the Freedom of Information Act and in 39 U.S.C. 410(c). The Postal Service will exercise its discretion, in accordance with the policy stated in § 265.1(c), as implemented by instructions issued by the Records Office with the approval of the General Counsel in determining whether the public interest is served by the inspection or copying of records that are:

(1) Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the Postal Service.

(2) Trade secrets, or privileged or confidential commercial or financial information, obtained from any person.

(3) Information of a commercial nature, including trade secrets, whether or not obtained from a person outside the Postal Service, which under good business practice would not be publicly disclosed. Information is of a commercial nature if it relates to commerce, trade, profit, or the Postal Service's ability to conduct itself in a businesslike manner.

(i) When assessing whether information is commercial in nature, the Postal Service will consider whether the information:

(A) Relates to products or services subject to economic competition, including, but not limited to, “competitive” products or services as defined in 39 U.S.C. 3631, an inbound international service, or an outbound international service for which rates or service features are treated as nonpublic;

(B) Relates to the Postal Service's activities that are analogous to a private business in the marketplace;

(C) Would be of potential benefit to individuals or entities in economic competition with the Postal Service, its customers, suppliers, affiliates, or business partners or could be used to cause harm to a commercial interest of the Postal Service, its customers, suppliers, affiliates, or business partners;

(D) Is proprietary or includes conditions or protections on distribution and disclosure, is subject to a nondisclosure agreement, or a third party has otherwise expressed an interest in protecting such information from disclosure;

(E) Is the result of negotiations, agreements, contracts or business deals between the Postal Service and a business entity; or

(F) Relates primarily to the Postal Service's governmental functions or its activities as a provider of basic public services.

(ii) No one factor is determinative. Rather, each factor should be considered in conjunction with the other factors and the overall character of the particular information. Some examples of commercial information include, but are not limited to:

(A) Information related to methods of handling valuable registered mail.

(B) Records of money orders except as provided in section 509.3 of the Domestic Mail Manual.

(C) Technical information concerning postage meters and prototypes submitted for Postal Service approval prior to leasing to mailers.

(D) Quantitative data, whether historical or current, reflecting the number of postage meters or PC postage accounts.

(E) Reports of market surveys conducted by or under contract on behalf of the Postal Service.

(F) Records indicating carrier or delivery lines of travel.

(G) Information which, if publicly disclosed, could materially increase procurement costs.

(H) Information which, if publicly disclosed, could compromise testing or examination materials.

(I) Service performance data on competitive services.

(J) Facility specific volume, revenue, and cost information.

(K) Country-specific international mail volume and revenue data.

(L) Non-public international volume, revenue and cost data.

(M) Pricing and negotiated terms in bilateral arrangements with foreign postal operators.

(N) Information identifying USPS business customers.

(O) Financial information in or the identities of parties to Negotiated Service Agreements or Package Incentive Agreements.

(P) Negotiated terms in contracts.

(Q) Negotiated terms in leases.

(R) Geolocation data.

(S) Proprietary algorithms or software created by the Postal Service.

(T) Sales performance goals, standards, or requirements.

(U) Technical information or specifications concerning mail processing equipment.

(c) Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes.

(1) Investigatory files compiled for law enforcement purposes, whether or not considered closed, are exempt by statute from mandatory disclosure except to the extent otherwise available by law to a party other than the Postal Service, 39 U.S.C. 410(c)(6). As a matter of policy, however, the Postal Service will normally make records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes available upon request unless the production of these records:

(i) Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings;

(ii) Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;

(iii) Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(iv) Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority (such as the Postal Inspection Service) in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source;

(v) Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or

(vi) Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.

(2) Whenever a request is made which involves access to records that could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings, and

(i) The investigation or proceeding involves a possible violation of criminal law; and

(ii) There is reason to believe that,

(A) The subject of the investigation or proceeding is not aware of its pendency, and

(B) Disclosure of the existence of the records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, the Postal Service may, during only such time as that circumstance continues, treat the records as not subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

(3) Whenever informant records maintained by a criminal law enforcement agency (such as the Postal Inspection Service) under an informant's name or personal identifier are requested by a third party according to the informant's name or personal identifier, the records may be treated as not subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act unless the informant's status as an informant has been officially confirmed.

(4) Authority to disclose records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes to persons outside the Postal Service must be obtained from the Chief Postal Inspector, U.S. Postal Service, Washington, DC 20260-2100, or designee.

(d) Disclosure of names and addresses of specifically identified Postal Service customers. Upon request, the names and addresses of specifically identified Postal Service customers will be made available only as follows:

(1) Change of address. The new address of any specific business or organization that has filed a permanent change of address order (by submitting PS Form 3575, a hand written order, or an electronically communicated order) will be furnished to any person upon request. If a domestic violence shelter has filed a letter on official letterhead from a domestic violence coalition stating:

(i) That such domestic violence coalition meets the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 10410; and

(ii) That the organization filing the change of address is a domestic violence shelter, the new address shall not be released except pursuant to applicable routine uses. The new address of any individual or family that has filed a permanent or temporary change of address order will be furnished only in those circumstances stated at paragraph (d)(5) of this section. Disclosure will be limited to the address of the specifically identified individual about whom the information is requested (not other family members or individuals whose names may also appear on the change of address order). The Postal Service reserves the right not to disclose the address of an individual for the protection of the individual's personal safety. Other information on PS Form 3575 or copies of the form will not be furnished except in those circumstances stated at paragraph (d)(5)(i), (d)(5)(iii), or (d)(5)(iv) of this section.

(2) Name and address of permit holder. The name and address of the holder of a particular bulk mail permit, permit imprint or similar permit (but not including postage meter licenses), and the name of any person applying for a permit on behalf of a holder will be furnished to any person upon request. For the name and address of a postage meter license holder, see paragraph (d)(3) of this section. (Lists of permit holders may not be disclosed to members of the public. See paragraph (e)(1) of this section.)

(3) Name and address of postage evidencing user. The name and address of an authorized user of a postage meter or PC Postage product (postage evidencing systems) printing a specified indicium will be furnished to any person upon the payment of any fees authorized by § 265.9(b), provided the user is using the postage meter or PC Postage product for business purposes. The request for this information must be sent to the manager of Postage Technology Management, Postal Service Headquarters. The request must include the original or a photocopy of the envelope or wrapper on which the postage meter or PC postage indicium in question is printed, and a copy or description of the contents to support that the sender is a business or firm and not an individual. (Lists of authorized users of postage meters or PC Postage products may not be disclosed to members of the public.)

(4) Post Office boxholder information. Information from PS Form 1093, Application for Post Office Box or Caller Service, will be provided as follows:

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(4)(iii) of this section, the boxholder applicant name and address from PS Form 1093 will be provided only in those circumstances stated in paragraphs (d)(5)(i) through (iii) of this section.

(ii) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(4)(iii) of this section, the names of persons listed as receiving mail, other than the boxholder applicant, will be furnished from PS Form 1093 only in those circumstances stated in paragraphs (d)(5)(i) and (iii) of this section.

(iii) When a copy of a protective order has been filed with the postmaster, information from PS Form 1093 will not be disclosed except pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

(5) Exceptions. Except as otherwise provided in these regulations, names or addresses of specifically identified Postal Service customers will be furnished only as follows:

(i) To a Federal, State or local government agency upon prior written certification that the information is required for the performance of its duties. The Postal Service requires government agencies to use the format appearing at the end of this section when requesting the verification of a customer's current address or a customer's new mailing address. If the request lacks any of the required information or a proper signature, the postmaster will return the request to the agency, specifying the deficiency in the space marked `OTHER'. A copy of PS Form 1093 may be provided.

(ii)

(A) To a person empowered by law to serve legal process, or the attorney for a party in whose behalf service will be made, or a party who is acting pro se, 1 upon receipt of written information that specifically includes all of the following:

1 The term pro se means that a party is not represented by an attorney but by himself or herself.

(1) A certification that the name or address is needed and will be used solely for service of legal process in connection with actual or prospective litigation;

(2) A citation to the statute or regulation that empowers the requester to serve process, if the requester is other than the attorney for a party in whose behalf service will be made, or a party who is acting pro se;

(3) The names of all known parties to the litigation;

(4) The court in which the case has been or will be commenced;

(5) The docket or other identifying number, if one has been issued; and

(6) The capacity in which the boxholder is to be served, e.g., defendant or witness.

(B) By submitting such information, the requester certifies that it is true. The address of an individual who files with the postmaster a copy of a protective court order will not be disclosed except as provided under paragraphs (d)(5)(i), (iii), or (iv) of this section. A copy of Form 1093 will not be provided. The Postal Service suggests use of the standard format appearing at the end of this section when requesting information under this paragraph. When using the standard format on the submitter's own letterhead, the standard format must be used in its entirety. The warning statement and certification specifically must be included immediately before the signature block. If the request lacks any of the required information or a proper signature, the postmaster will return it to the requester specifying the deficiency.

(iii) In compliance with a subpoena or court order, except that change of address or boxholder information which is not otherwise subject to disclosure under these regulations may be disclosed only pursuant to a court order.

(iv) To a law enforcement agency, for oral requests made through the Inspection Service, but only after the Inspection Service has confirmed that the information is needed in the course of a criminal investigation. (All other requests from law enforcement agencies should be submitted in writing to the postmaster as in paragraph (d)(5)(i) of this section.)

(6) Jury service. The mailing address of any customer sought in connection with jury service, if known, will be furnished without charge upon prior written request to a court official, such as a judge, court clerk or jury commissioner.

(7) Address verification. The address of a postal customer will be verified at the request of a Federal, State, or local government agency upon written certification that the information is required for the performance of the agency's duties. “Verification” means advising such an agency whether or not its address for a postal customer is one at which mail for that customer is currently being delivered. “Verification” neither means nor implies knowledge on the part of the Postal Service as to the actual residence of the customer or as to the actual receipt by the customer of mail delivered to that address. The Postal Service requires government agencies to use the format appearing at the end of this section when requesting the verification of a customer's current address or a customer's new mailing address. If the request lacks any of the required information or a proper signature, the postmaster will return the request to the agency, specifying the deficiency in the space marked “OTHER”.

(8) Business/Residence location. If the location of a residence or a place of business is known to a Postal Service employee, whether as a result of official duties or otherwise, the employee may, but need not, disclose the location or give directions to it. No fee is charged for such information.

(9) Private mailbox information. Information from PS Form 1583, Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent, will be provided as follows:

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(9)(iii) of this section, information from PS Form 1583 will be provided only in the circumstance stated in paragraph (d)(5)(iii) of this section.

(ii) To the public only for the purpose of identifying a particular address as an address of an agent to whom mail is delivered on behalf of other persons. No other information, including, but not limited to, the identities of persons on whose behalf agents receive mail, may be disclosed to the public from PS Form 1583.

(iii) Information concerning an individual who has filed a protective court order with the postmaster will not be disclosed except pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

(e) Information not available for public disclosure.

(1) The Postal Service and its officers and employees shall not make available to the public by any means or for any purpose any mailing list or other list of names and addresses (past or present) of postal patrons or other persons in response to a request under this part except that, upon a request in accordance with the procedures of § 265.3, the Postal Service will, to the extent required by law, provide a listing of postal employees working at a particular postal facility.

(2) Records or other documents which are classified or otherwise specifically authorized by Executive Order 12356 and implementing regulations to be kept secret in the interest of the national defense or foreign policy are not subject to disclosure pursuant to this part.

(3) Records consisting of trade secrets or confidential financial data, the disclosure of which is prohibited by 18 U.S.C. 1905, are not subject to disclosure pursuant to this part.

(4) Other records, the disclosure of which is prohibited by statute, are not subject to disclosure pursuant to this part.

(f) Protection of the right of privacy. If any record required or permitted by this part to be disclosed contains the name of, or other identifying details concerning, any person, including an employee of the Postal Service, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, the name or other identifying details shall be deleted before the record is disclosed and the requester so informed.

(g) Disclosure in part of otherwise exempt record. Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be provided after deleting the information which is neither subject to mandatory disclosure nor available as a matter of discretion.

[81 FR 86271, Nov. 30, 2016, as amended at 82 FR 12921, Mar. 8, 2017; 82 FR 32767, July 18, 2017; 83 FR 9433, Mar. 6, 2018; 83 FR 48236, Sept. 24, 2018]

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