Address change goes electronic
- By William Matthews
- Sep 07, 2001
The Postal Service is ready to use the Internet to make it easier for postal
customers to change their addresses, but a more ambitious change-of-address
scheme by the federal CIO Council remains on the drawing board.
MoversGuide is already online, although the Postal Service doesn't plan
a formal debut for the service until later this month.
The main feature at www.MoversGuide.com is
an electronic form that can be filled out and submitted online to switch
mail delivery from one address to another. To prevent the malicious redirecting
of mail, the Postal Service verifies change requests before making them,
USPS spokeswoman Sue Brennan said.
The Postal Service has had change-of-address forms online for some time,
but until now, customers had to download them, fill them out, print them
and physically deliver them to a post office. Now, completed forms can be
transmitted to the Postal Service electronically.
The idea is to make address changes more convenient and save money, Brennan
said. Each year, 44 million people and businesses change addresses about
17 percent of the population moves she said.
In addition to changing addresses, MoversGuide offers two dozen other moving-related
services, such as providing links to truck rental companies, furniture storage
firms, and packing supply vendors. It also offers links to telephone services,
Internet and cable companies, and utility companies.
Since early summer, the CIO Council's E-Government Committee has been sketching
a change-of-address service that would link the Postal Service with other
federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security
Administration, and to state and local governments.
North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, New Jersey and Montgomery County, Md., are
involved in the planning, which calls for participants to have automated
access to Postal Service data on addresses that have changed.
That part of the scheme poses privacy problems. To protect postal customers
from marketers and others, the Postal Service's change-of-address database
is kept under "a fairly intense security level," Brennan said. For example,
the Postal Service does not routinely share its data even with the IRS,
"There are several privacy issues which must be worked out fully" before
the E-Government Committee's plan can be tested, the committee said in a