USPS unifying records management policies

The Postal Service is centralizing its records management policies and figuring out how to tackle electronic storage of the information.

Zoe Strickland, USPS' chief privacy officer, who recently inherited records management duties, yesterday said her office will hire a private sector expert to make recommendations on how to consolidate disparate policies.

The Postal Service then will create a cross-functional working group to develop the new policies, she said at a media lunch hosted by the Postal Service in Washington.

'I imagine we will use a federated approach, where the central principles apply a little differently for everyone,' Strickland said. 'We will work closely with the IT folks because our interests are aligned when it comes to storage and disposal of records.'

Strickland said her office will start with USPS headquarters programs initially, and eventually will work with field offices to manage their needs. Headquarters' programs include the enterprise data warehouse and the advanced computer environment.

USPS also will confer with the National Records and Archives Administration to make sure it meets at least the spirit, if not the letter, of records management requirements, she said. The Postal Service does not have to meet all federal regulations but does take them into account when creating new policies.

Strickland also said Congress must modernize the Privacy Act of 1974 and make it relate better to the E-Government Act of 2002 privacy provisions.

'When the Privacy Act was written, it was all about paper, but it is a whole new ball game with technology,' she said. 'It doesn't necessarily work together with the E-Government Act. The E-Government Act references the Privacy Act, but there are still a lot of issues of how they work together.'

The Privacy Act requires agencies to make reasonable efforts to ensure that information is complete, accurate, relevant and timely before disclosing it to a nonfederal organization. The E-Government Act mandated, among other things, that agencies develop privacy impact assessments for new or modified IT systems.

Strickland added USPS, which has had a privacy program since 2000, will make a list of its privacy impact assessments available in July.


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