United States Privacy Act


United States Privacy Act of 1974 is an Act of Congress codified in 5 U.S.C. § 552a is a Privacy Law that establishes a Code of Fair Information Practice that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by United States Federal Agency.

A system of records is a group of records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifier assigned to the individual.

The primary statement: "No agency 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.."

United States Privacy Act exceptions: Twelve Exceptions to the "No Disclosure Without Consent" Rule

  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(1) ("Need to know" within agency)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(2) (required FOIA disclosure)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(3) (routine uses)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(4) (Bureau of the Census)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(5) (statistical research)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(6) (National Archives)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(7) (law enforcement request)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(8) (health or safety of an individual)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(9) (Congress)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(10) (United States Government Accountability Office (GAO))
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(11) (court order)
  • 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(12) (Debt Collection Act)

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