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Public Law 93-579 93rd Congress, S. 3418

December 31, 1974

An Act

To amend title 5, l'nited States Code, by adding a section 552a to safeguard

individua! porivary from the misuse of Federal records, to provide that individuals lw granted access to records concerning them which are niaintained by Federal agencies, to establish a Privacy Protection Study Commission, and for other purposes.


5 USC 552a

Statement of

Be it oarted by the Senate and llouse of Representatives of the Linited States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may Privacy Act be cited as the "Privacy Ict of 1971”.

of 1974.

5 USC 552a SEC. 2. (a) The Congress finds that-

(1) the privacy of an individual is directly affected by the Congressional collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal infor- findings. mation by Federal agencies;

(2) the increasing use of computers and sophisticated infor- note. mation technology, while essential to the officient operations of the Government, has greatly magnified the harm to individual privacy that can occur from any collection, maintenance, lise, or dissemination of personal information:

( 3.) the opportunities for an individual to secure employment. insurance, and credit, and his right to due process, and other legal protections are endangered by the misuse of certain information svitems;

(4) the right to privacy is at personal and fundamental right protected by the Constitution of the l’nited States; and

(5) in order to protect the privacy of individuals identified in information systems maintained by Federal agencies, it is necessary and proper for the ('ongress to regulate the collection, main

tenance, rise, :und dissemination of information by such agencies. (b) The purpose of this Act is to provide certain safeguards for an individual against an invasion of personal privacy by requiring purpose. Federal agencies, except as otherwise provided by law, to

(1) permit an individual to determine what records pertaining to him are collected, maintained, used, or disseminated by such agencies;

(2) permit an inclividual to prevent records pertaining to him obtained by such agencies for a particular purpose from being nised or made available for another purpose without his consent ;

(3) permit an individual to gain access to information pertain. ing to him in Federal agency records, to have a copy made of all or any portion thereof, and to correct or amend such recorrals:

(4) collect, maintain, use, or disseniinate any record of identifiable personal information in a manner that assures that such action is for a necessary and lawful purpose, that the information is current and accurate for its intended use, and that adequate safeguards are provided to prevent misuse of such information;

(5) permit exemptions from the requirements with respect to records provided in this Act only in those cases where there is an important public policy need for such exemption as bas bern determined by specific statutory authority; and

(6) be subject to civil suit for any damages which occur as a result of willful or intentional action which violates any india vidual's rights imder this.Ict.

88 STAT. 1896 Sec. 3. Title 5. United States Code, is amended by adding after section 552 the following new section:

88 STAT. 1897

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88 STAT. 1897

5 SC 552a.

5 TSC 552.

13 USC 8.

"8 552a. Records maintained on individuals
“(:1) DEFINITIONS. --For purposes of this section--

“(1) the term 'ulgency' means in Money ils defined in section 3.12(e) of this title:

“(2) the term 'individual means it citizen of the United States or ani alion lawfully admitted for permanent resistence;

"(33) the term 'maintain' includes maintain, collect, use, or clisseminate:

"(t) the term recoril means any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an apener, including, but not limited to, his education, financial Transactions, medical history, iind criminal or employment history and that contains his name, or the identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a finger or voice print or a photograph;

“(5) the term 'system of records' means a group of any records wder the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the indiviilual;

“(6) the term 'statistical recorel' means it record in a system of records maintained for statistical research or reporting purposes only anıl not used in whole or in part in making any determination about an identifiable indiviilual, except as provided by section 8 of title 1:3 ; and

"(7) the term 'routine inse' means, with respect to the disclosire of a record, the rise of such record for a purpose whict:

is compatible with the purpose for which it wils collected. **(b) Conditions of DisclosURE.-.No i gency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains, unless disclosure of the record would be

"(1).to those officers and employees of the agency which maintains the record who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties;

"(2) required under section 1552 of this title; :"(33) for a routine use as defined in subsection (a) (7) of this section and clescribed under subsection (c)(+)(1)) of this section;

*(+) to the Bureau of the rensus for purposes of planning or carrying out a census or survey or related activity pursuant to the provisions of title 133;

“(5) to a recipient who has provided the agency with advance adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical research or reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable;

“(6) to the National Archives of the United States as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the United States Government, or for evaluation by the Administrator of General Services or his designee to determine whether the record has such value;

"77) to another agency or to an instrumentality of any govern, mental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law, and if the head of the agency or instrumentality has made a written request to the agency which

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Pub. Law 93-579

88 STAT. 1898

maintains the record specifying the particular portion desireland the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought;

“(8) to a person pursuant to a showing of compelling circumstances affecting the health or sa fety of an individual if mpon such disclosure notification is transmitted to the last known address of such individual;

“(9) to either House of Congress, or, to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, any committee or subcommittee thereof. any joint committee of Congress or subcommittee of any such joint committee;

"(10) to the Comptroller General, or any of his authorized representatives, in the course of the performance of the duties of the General Accounting Office; or

“(11) pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisiliction. "(c) ACCOUNTING OF CERTAIN DISCLOSURES.—Each agency, with respect to each system of records under its control, shall

“(1) except for disclosures made under subsections (b) (1) or (b) (2) of this section, keep an accurate accounting of

"(A) the date, nature, and purpose of each disclosure of a record to any person or to another agency inade under subsection (b) of this section; and

“(B) the name and address of the person or agency to whom the disclosure is made; “(2) retain the accounting made under paragraph (1) of this subsection for at least five years or the life of the record, whichever is longer, after the disclosure for which the accounting is made;

“(3) except for disclosures made under subsection (b) (7) of this section, make the accounting made under paragraph (1) of this subsection available to the individual named in the record at his request; and

“(4) inform any person or other agency about any correction or notation of dispute made by the agency in accordance with subsection (d) of this section of any record that has been disclosed to the person or agency if an accounting of the disclosure

was made. “(d) Access to Records.-Each agency that maintains a system of records shall

“(1) upon request by any individual to gain access to his personal record or to any information pertaining to him which is contained in the system, permit him and upon his request, a person of his own choosing to accompany him, to review the record and have a copy made of all or any portion thereof in a form comprehensible to him, except that the agency may require the individual to furnish a written statement authorizing discussion of that individual's record in the accompanying person's presence;

“(2) permit the individual to request amendment of a record Amendment pertaining to him and

“(A) not later than 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sun.
days, and legal public holidays) after the date of receipt of
such request, acknowledge in writing such receipt; and
“(B) promptly, either-

“(i) make any correction of any portion thereof
which the individual believes is not accurate, relevant,
timely, or complete; or

“(ii) inform the individual of its refusal to amend the record in accordance with his request, the reason




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88 STAT. 1899



Notation of dispute.

for the refusal, the procedures established by the agency for the individual to request a review of that refusal by the head of the agency or an officer designated by the head of the agency, and the name and business address

of that official; “(3) permit the individual who disagrees with the refusal of the agency to amend his record to request a review of such refusal, and not later than 30 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) from the date on which the individual requests such review, complete such review and make a final determination unless, for good cause shown, the head of the agency extends such 30-day period ; and if, after his review, the reviewing official also refuses to amend the record in accordance with the request, permit the individual to file with the agency a concise statement setting forth the reasons for his disagreement with the refusal of the agency, and notify the individual of the provisions for judicial review of the reviewing official's deterinination under subsection (g)(1)(A) of this section;

“(4) in any disclosure, containing information about which the individual has filed a statement of disagreement, occurring afier the filing of the statement under paragraph (3) of this subsection, cearly note any portion of the record which is disputed and provide copies of the statement and, if the agency deenis it appropriate, copies of a concise statement of the reasons of the agency for not making the amendments requested, to persons or other agencies to whom the disputed record has been discloseil: and

(5) nothing in this section shall allow an individnal access to any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil

action or proceeding. “(e) AGENCY REQUIREMENTS.—Each agency that maintains a system of records shall

“(1) maintain in its records only such information about an individual as is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required to be accomplished by statute or by executive order of the President;

“(2) collect information to the greatest extent practicable directly from the subject individual when the information may result in adverse determinations about an individual's rights, benefits, and privileges under Federal programs;

“(3) inform each individual whom it asks to supply information, on the form which it uses to collect the information or on a separate form that can be retained by the individual

“(A) the authority (whether granted by statute, or by executive order of the President) which authorizes the solicitation of the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory or voluntary;

**(R) the principal purpose or purposes for which the information is intended to be used;

*(C) the routine uses which may be made of the information, as published pursuant to paragraph (4)(D) of this subsection; and

"(D)), the effects on him, if any, of not providing all or any part of the requested information; “(4) subject to the provisions of paragraph (11) of thiş subsection, publish in the Federal Register at least annually a notice of the existence and character of the system of records, which notice shall include

“(A) the name and location of the system;

Publication in Federal Register.

December 31, 1974

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Pub. Law 93-579

98 STAT. 1900


**(B) the categories of individuals on whom records are maintained in the system;

" (C) the categories of records maintained in the system;

“(1) each routine use of the records contained in the system, including the categories of users and the purpose of such

"(E) the policies and practices of the agency regarding storage, retrievability, access controls, retention, and disposal of the records;

“(F) the title and business address of the agency official who is responsible for the system of records;

“(G) the agency procedures whereby an individual can be notified at his request if the system of records contains a rece ord pertaining to him;

“(H) the agency procedures whereby an individual can be notified at his request how he can gain access to any record pertaining to him contained in the system of records, and how he can contest its content; and

“(I) the categories of sources of records in the system; “(5) maintain all records which are used by the agency in making any determination about any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as is reasonably necessary to assure fairness to the individual in the determination;

“(6) prior to disseminating any record about an individual to any person other than an agency, unless the dissemination is made pursuant to subsection (b)(2) of this section, make reasonable efforts to assure that such records are accurate, complete, timely, and relevant for agency purposes;

(7) maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity;

“(8) make reasonable efforts to serve notice on an individual when any record on such individual is made available to any person under compulsory legal process when such process becomes a matter of public record;

“(9) establish rules of conduct for persons involved in the Rules of design, development, operation, or maintenance of any system of records, or in maintaining any record, and instruct each such person with respect to such rules and the requirements of this section, including any other rules and procedures adopted pursuant to this section and the penalties for noncompliance;

“(10) establish appropriate administrative, technical, and Confidentiality physical safeguards to insure the security and confidentiality of records and to protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to their security or integrity which could result in substantial harm, embarrassment, inconvenience, or unfairness to any individual on whom information is maintained; and

"(11) at least 30 days prior to publication of information under Publication paragraph (4)(D) of this subsection, publish in the Federal in Federal Register notice of any new use or intended use of the information Register, in the system, and provide an opportunity for interested persons to

submit written data, views, or arguments to the agency. “(f) AGENCY RULES.-In order to carry out the provisions of this section, each agency that maintains a system of records shall promulgate rules, in accordance with the requirements (including general notice) of section 553 of this title, which shall-

“(1) establish procedures wherehy an individual can be notified


of records.

5 USC 553.

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