Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House committee holds hearing on Postal Service data breach

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the Postal Service data breach that occurred in September. Witnesses included Randy Miskanic, USPS vice president of secure digital solutions; Guy Cottrell, USPS Chief Postal Inspector; Tammy Whitcomb, USPS Deputy Inspector General; Tim Edgar, visiting fellow for the Watson Institute for International Studies; and Captain Charles Hamby, Narcotics Enforcement Division, Prince Georges County Police Department

During the hearing, the Postal Service testified that it was aware of suspicious activity on its network on Sept. 11 and became confident that data was stolen on Oct. 16. However, employees were not notified that their information was stolen until Nov. 10, drawing the ire of subcommittee members for this failure to notify postal employees and their unions for several weeks.

“We need to mandate this, but you have to be more forthcoming with the people that you’re supposed to be protecting than you have been in this case,” said committee ranking member Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA).

The committee also devoted significant discussion and questions to the 2.9 million records of customers who contacted the Postal Service Customer Care Center, which were also compromised. This data did not include sensitive information such as credit card and Social Security numbers. According to testimony before the committee, only names, addresses and phone numbers of customers were obtained by the hackers. The Postal Service indicated that it knew who perpetrated the attack, but that the information is classified. Press reports have pointed fingers at the Chinese government. The Postal Service testified that it has guaranteed its employees one free year of identity theft protection and credit card monitoring.

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