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PREPARED STATEMENT OF DAVID F. LINOWES, CHAIRMAN OF THE
PRIVACY PROTECTION STUDY COMMISSION
Madame Chairwoman and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am David F. Linowes, Chairman of the Privacy Protection
My purpose in being here today is to testify
on behalf of the Commission's request for amendment of Section
9 of the Privacy Act of 1974 to remove the current $750,000
fiscal-year limitation on Commission expenditures, and to in
crease the Commission's total authorization from $1,500,000 to
I hope that as
a result of my appearance today
you will agree with us that the adoption of these measures is necessary if the Commission is to fulfill the formidable man
date the Congress gave it in Section 5 of the Privacy Act of
Removal of Fiscal-Year Expenditure Limitation
I would like to speak first to the matter of the fiscal
year expenditure limitation.
Section 9 of the Privacy Act pro
hibits the Commission from expending more than $750,000 in any
one fiscal year.
Since the current fiscal year does not end
until September 30, 1976, that means that we are prohibited from spending more than $750,000 over a 15-month period, even though the Congress has now appropriated a total of $1,000,000
for the Commission in FY '76.
Moreover, the fiscal-year expen
diture limitation has deprived us of any discretion to allocate
funds from one fiscal year to another, even though our
Commission's life is but a mere
I understand that
it is not unusual for a limited duration commission such as
ours co be free to allocate the total amount of its authorized
funds during the course of its life and we also have found no
legislative history--formal or informal--which indicates that
the Congress wanted to deprive the Commission of the ability to do so. We, therefore, hope that you will agree that the fiscal-year limitation in Section 9.should be eliminated.
Increase in Total Authorization
Section 9 of the Privacy Act places a total authorization
limit of $1.5 million on the Commission.
This simply is not
enough to accomplish the work that Congress has set out for
are seeking an increase in
our authorization from the current $1.5 million to $2 million
for the entire two-year period.
This would allow us
the $250,000 FY '76 supplemental recently appropriated for us
without prejudice to our $750,000 appropriation request for
In addition, it would allow us
to request an FY '77
supplemental of approximately $100,000 which we know we need
to complete our study program, and also provide us with a small
margin of funding to cover two contingencies: (1) the need to publish an edited version of the transcripts of particular
Commission hearings should Congress or others request it; and
sion and selected experts in March and April, 1977 should that
be required for the Commission to complete its deliberations.
Before giving details on how we plan to spend the additional
monies we are seeking, allow me to explain briefly our appropriation
At its February 13, 1976 meeting the Commission unanimously
voted to request an FY '76 supplemental appropriation in the
amount of $380,781, to seek an FY '77 supplemental appropriation in the amount of $94,191, and to seek the authorization
change that is the subject of this hearing.
were formally submitted to the Office of Management and Budget
and the Congress on March 10, 1976.
Thereafter, on March
23, 1976, the President submitted to the President of the
Senate his second FY '76 supplemental budget request, which included $250,000 for the Commission. This additional sum
was approved on May 21, 1976, as part of H.R. 13172, Second
Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1976, with the proviso that
it shall only be available to the Commission upon the enactment
of authorizing legislation.
The $250,000 approved supplemental was $131,000 less than
the Commission had originally requested.
We believe that we
can operate with that sum for the remainder of FY '76.
ever, the Commission will need supplemental funds of approximately $100,000 for FY '77 in order to complete its study
The FY '76 supplemental and the needed FY '77
supplemental will together place the Commission budget at
$350,000 over the current authorization ceiling.
contemplated by OMB as recognized in their support of our
requested authorization increase to $2 million.
We hope to
convince you that these additional funds are crucial.
The Commission's Mandate
The principal charge to the Commission is to make a
thoroughgoing study of the "data banks, automated data processing programs, and information systems of governmental, regional, and private organizations," and as a result of such study to recommend to the President and the Congress the extent, if any, to which the principles and requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974 should be applied to organizations to
In addition, Section 5 of the Privacy Act requires the
Commission to inquire into and report on
Whether an individual should have a right in
law to have his name removed from a mailing
list he (or she) does not want to be on;
Whether the Internal Revenue Service should be
prohibited from disclosing individually iden
tifiable data to other Federal agencies and
agencies of State government;
Whether Federal agencies should be liable for
general damages if they willfully or intention
ally violate the Privacy Act of 1974;
Whether and how the security and confidentiality
requirements of the Privacy Act should be ap
plied when a record is disclosed to an individual
or organization that is not subject to the Act;
Whether and to what extent, if any, information
systems affect Federal-State relations and the
separation of powers.
The Congress also expressly authorized the Commission to include in its inquiry interstate transfers of information about in
dividuals; information systems that affect individual rights
other than the right to personal privacy; uses made of the
Social Security number and other standard universal identifiers;
the matching and analysis of statistical data with personal information gleaned from other, non-statistical sources; and the personal-data record-keeping practices of organizations in the fields of medicine, insurance, education, employment, travel, hotel, and entertainment reservations, credit, banking, consumer reporting, cable television, and electronic funds transfer.
Furthermore, in carrying out studies in any of these areas, the Commission is required not only to document the standards and procedures now in force for the protection of personal
information but also
to determine what laws, Executive Orders, regulations, directives, and judicial decisions govern the activities under study;
to assess the extent to which those legal foundations are consistent with "the rights of privacy, due process of law, and other guarantees in the Constitution;" and
to collect and utilize, to the maximum extent possible, the findings, reports, studies, hearing transcripts and recommendations of executive, legislative and private bodies, institutions, organizations, and individuals which pertain to the problems under study.