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In accordance with P.L. 89-377, the unpaid postal savings accounts were transferred from the Post Office Department to Treasury for liquidation. All the individual account cards were transferred along with computer tapes which contained the following data that also appears on the depositor's account card:

(a) Name of depositor

(b) Account number

(c) Name of state and post office where account was maintained
(d) Amount on deposit

The approximate number of depositors in the Program is 331,000.
(2) Under what statutory and administrative authority was each data bank
established and for what purpose? Please supply copies of pertinent federal
statutes, regulations and memoranda on which this authority is based and by
which it is implemented.

39 U.S.C. 5225-5229 (1964). These sections now have legal effect of a rule or regulation. See P.L. 91-375. See 5(f) set out in a note prior to 39 U.S.C. 101.

The Postal Savings System was placed in operation in January 1911 pursuant to an Act of Congress and discontinued by P.L. 89-377, approved March 28, 1966. The unpaid postal savings accounts were transferred from local post offices to Post Office Data Centers, where the above information was placed in computer tape primarily for balancing purposes prior to transferring the unpaid accounts to Treasury. [See relevant portion of P.L. 89377, printed below as Attachment 1.] The tapes are not used by Treasury in the postal savings payment process and are considered only as backup data for the manual accounts card file.

(3) Are Treasury Department controls, guidelines, or advice required by or offered to state officials and private individuals who either administer or who utilize this data-gathering program? Please supply copies of pertinent rules or advisory documents as issued by federal and state agencies.

The Department of the Treasury is adhering to the former regulations of the Post Office Department with respect to release of information on postal savings accounts. Those regulations permit Treasury to furnish identifying lists of names of depositors and post offices in which the account was last maintained to private individuals, corporations, public news media, etc., that plan to use the names in a manner that will assist in locating depositors for purposes of liquidating their accounts, in accordance with P.L. 89–377. (4) For each category and each conglomerate of data, indicate its present state of computerization or other mechanization for access and retrieval as well as for evaluation and analysis.

The present state of computerization is tape and information is retrieved by direct printout of the data.

(5) Describe plans for further computerization or mechanization in each program.

There are no plans for further computerization of the Postal Savings System.

(6) In what instances would each system be utilized? By what officials and by what agencies?

Not applicable to this Program.

(7) For each new data storage and processing program, please describe: (a) the advantages; and (b) the extent to which it permits correlating, common storage and multi-faceted analysis of data on a scale not hitherto available.

Not applicable to this Program.

(8) What specific subject areas concerning an individual's background, personal life, personality and habits are noted in each data program?


(9) Has the Treasury Department and its component agencies developed comprehensive guidelines governing maintenance of any or all the various data systems, access to them, review and disclosure of material in them, and distribution of data to other agencies? If so, please supply copies.

The Bureau of Accounts has issued a policy statement as to information that will be made available (Attachment 2).

(10-A) Is the subject individual or his representative notified of the fact that he is in the data bank?


20-550-74-pt. 5—3

(B) Is he allowed to review the data on record about him; to supplement his file; or to explain or rebut inaccurate material? Please describe the precise limitations on such rights for each restriction.

No personal data in the Program.

(11) What aspects of the recorded data are available to other persons? Who, specifically? For what purpose? By what authority?

Regulations permit that a list, identifying name of depositor and post office in which account was last maintained, may be made available, upon request, to the public news media, individuals and corporations, etc., for the purpose of assisting Treasury in locating depositors.

(12) Is a record maintained of each inspection or use of the individual's record? Yes.

(13) For each data bank, please indicate how the information is collected, whether it is solicited from the individual, from third persons, or from existing records.

Certain information was recorded by local post office personnel on the depositor's postal savings account card at the time the account was opened and updated when necessary. When the unpaid account cards were transferred from the local post offices to the Post Office Regional Data Centers, the information was used by the Data Centers as input into the computer tapes. (14) What officials in your agency are responsible for determining the accuracy of information in the data bank? What provisions are made, procedurally, for deleting information found to be inaccurate or inappropriate, either on the initiative of the agency or on motion of the individual?

The information in the magnetic tapes was compiled by the Post Office Department from existing postal savings accounts. The Bureau does not make deletions or update the data in the tapes, since the records the Bureau uses in the payment process are the individual's account cards.

(15) What other agencies have access to information or use of information in each data bank?


(16) What states and federal agencies may utilize the data in your computerized files by coding, interfacing and other devices relating to their own computer? None.

(17) What security devices and procedures are utilized to prevent: (a) unauthorized access to the data file; and (b) improper use of the information?

No action can be taken by the Computer Operations unless a request is received by an authorized Bureau employee.

(18) What formal or informal arrangement does the Treasury Department have with congressional committees for the authorizing and reviewing of new data banks and the clearance of new electronic or mechanized record-management techniques?

Not applicable to this Program.

(19-A) Have any data programs or the development of other comprehensive records systems been discussed before other congressional committees by Treasury Department representatives?

Not applicable to this Program.

(B) Have any been specifically approved by Congress or congressional committees?

Not applicable to this Program.

(C) If so, would you please supply any available testimony, or citations to such hearings?

Not applicable to this Program.


The following two attachments were submitted by the Treasury Bureau of Accounts along with the bureau's response.

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89TH CONGRESS, H.R. 8030


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(March 28, 1966)


To provide for the discontinuance of the Postal Savings System, and for other purposes.


"§ 5228. Transfer of deposits to Treasury

"Effective on the first day of the second fiscal year which shall begin after the closing date for the Postal Savings System, the total amount of unpaid deposits, including the accrued interest due thereon, as shown by the books of the Board of Trustees of the Postal Savings System, shall be transferred to the Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary of the Treasury shall deposit the amount so transferred under authority of this section in the Treasury to the credit of the trust fund receipt account 'Unclaimed moneys of individuals whose whereabouts are unknown'. Expenditures are authorized to be made from such account as provided by section 725p of title 31, United States Code.


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The following policy on the above subject was approved by the Commissioner of Accounts on September 11, 1967:

In accordance with the procedures in section 270.3(a), Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and the schedule of fees established at section 270.4, the Bureau of Accounts will make available to private individuals, corporations, etc., certain listings of unclaimed funds in Treasury accounts for which the Bureau has administrative responsibility:

(1) Postal Savings System Deposits.-List identifying name of depositor and post office in which account was last maintained, for inactive deposit accounts of $3 or more and for active deposit accounts regardless of amounts.

(2) Moneys of Individuals Whose Whereabouts Unknown.—List identifying name and amount, for amounts over $1,000.

(3) Awards Under International Claims Programs.-List of name, last known address, amount, and reference to applicable claims fund account, for amounts over $1,000.




Subcommittee Analysis

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms submitted responses regarding two data banks.

I. Index


Description: (1) Purpose (2) Contents


A. National firearms registration and transfer (1) File is used in enforcement of gun control 200,000.
record. Records are on microfilm (re-
trieval automated)..

statutes. System shows whether or not a gun
that should be registered is, in fact, regis-

(2) Identification data. An individual who manu-
factures a firearm must supply data as to
criminal background, whetner he has been
adjudicated mentally defective or committed
to a mental institution, whether he has ever
renounced his U.S. citizenship.

B. Management information system (com- (1) File provides an inventory of investigations. 23,000 as of Apr. 16, puterized).

Response indicates that information in the
file is used for management analysis.

(2) Name and social security number of suspect
and agent assigned to case, results of a
prosecution, nonpersonal information re-
garding the status of an investigation.

II. Nature of Material Submitted


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms response regarding firearms records went into meticulous detail, indicating a sincere effort on the part of the respondent to disclose all information desired by the subcommittee. The Management Information System response was generally informative, but somewhat defensive. There were repeated references to the fact that files are used only as a management tool.

III. Comments

A. Statutory Authority

1. FIREARMS RECORDS.-Chapter 53 of Title 26 of the U.S.C. relates to firearms. Various provisions require a manufacturer, transferor, or transferee to supply information on an application form "prescribed by the Secretary [of the Treasury]." Therefore, express statutory authorization justifies this data bank.

2. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM.-Statutes cited refer broadly to the activities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. There is no clear implication that records of the management information sort were intended by the lawmakers. The files which rely primarily on administrative authorization are at most impliedly authorized by statute.

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B. Subject Notification and Review

1. FIREARMS RECORDS.-Registrants are aware of the fact that their applications are included in Treasury files; however, they are probably not aware that the applications are part of an automated microfilm file. Registrants are allowed to review and update files; indeed, they are required to report movement of firearms across state lines.

2. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM.-The agent completes the required form and presumably is aware of his inclusion in the files. The suspect is not notified of his inclusion. According to the response, neither agent nor suspect is allowed to explain or rebut material in the files. The response defends the position of the Bureau on this issue by reminding the subcommittee that the information is "used only for management purposes."

C. Access by Agencies

1. FIREARMS RECORDS.-According to the response, information is unavailable to any other agency.

2. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM.-Response indicates that no access is provided other agencies.

D. Public Access

1. FIREARMS RECORDS.-Records are accessible only to those who maintain files and to those with responsibility for making searches. 2. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM.-The Bureau's reply states that data is strictly for internal (Bureau) use.

E. Security Precautions

1. FIREARMS RECORDS.-Records of inspection and use of individual records are maintained. A Firearms and Explosives Branch policy memorandum regarding security was issued by the branch chief on November 11, 1971. (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms response to the Subcommittee inquiry is dated November 17, 1971.) Procedures require that documents be checked when removed for use of any person other than those named as being responsible for file maintenance. All files are locked during non-working hours.

2. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM.-No specific security guidelines have been developed. However, the response does indicate that documents and magnetic tape are accessible only to authorized personnel and that storage of information is in a secure building and department. Field copies are kept locked in files in field offices.

F. Sources of Information

1. FIREARMS RECORDS.-Information is supplied by registrants themselves.

2. MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM.-Information is collected from forms prepared by agents.

IV. Evaluation

1. FIREARMS RECORDS.-One possibly objectionable aspect of the firearms registration files is the character of the information that is required of the individual maker of a firearm. The application to make and register a firearm inquires into drug use, history of mental stability, type of discharge from the Armed Services, whether U.S. citizenship has been renounced in the past. It is not clear that questions such as these are reasonably related to the proper control of firearms.

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