The U.S. Postal Service has quietly sought to “immunize” itself from Privacy Act challenges to its address-correction service, a program that gives credit, marketing and data-service providers access to updated name and address information for tens of millions of Americans.

Postal officials say the program helps reduce costly undeliverable mail that can clog up the mail stream, but its failure to obtain consent to sell customers’ information is raising alarm bells from within and outside the agency.

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