Competing With the Mailman?
e.bill (08/00) Vol. 2, No. 4 p.20; Smith, Claudia

The U.S. Internet Industry Association (USIIA) has asked Congress to limit the involvement of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in e-commerce. The agency recently pled its case in a letter to congressional lawmakers who have oversight of USPS. In the letter, USIIA expressed concern over the USPS plan to further its foothold in the e-commerce industry. Specifically, the USIIA wants Congress to minimize the reach of new programs the USPS intends to launch in direct competition with other segments of private industry. They include the mapping of physical addresses to an "official" USPS email address, electronic bill presentment and payment services, and a new electronic postmark program that will debut before private sector initiatives for digital signatures. The USIIA has also called into question whether a conflict of interest may exist. In the letter, USIIA notes that the USPS' traditional role has been that of a regulator. In light of the agency's current exemption from anti-trust considerations, USIIA says that it remains to be seen whether USPS should be allowed to dominate services it may also seek to regulate.

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