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The USPS Is Selling Data to Brokers

BIG DATA—U.S.

July 10, 2013

Forbes reports on the relationship between the United States Postal Service (USPS) and various data brokers. According to the report, the USPS will sell change-of-address information to a data broker provided the firm purchasing the data has the user’s previous address. The USPS National Change-of-Address program (NCOA) approves licenses to approximately 500 companies. “There’s nothing terrible about NCOA, but people should be given a choice,” said privacy expert Bob Gellman. “New movers are fodder for data brokers, who sell mailing lists to marketers and who also maintain lifetime files on every household in America. NCOA is a prime source of this information.” There is, however, a loophole for consumers that prevents data brokers from accessing the updated address.
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