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Privacy Act

What is the Privacy Act?

In December 1974 Congress passed a law relating to protection of privacy in administrative process of Federal executive agencies. The President signed the legislation on January 1st, and the Privacy Act (P.L. 93-579) became effective on September 27, 1975.

The Privacy Act gives American citizens and lawfully admitted aliens for permanent residency a greater say in the way records about them are kept and eliminates needless intrusions on personal privacy through the keeping of extraneous records. The Privacy Act assures individuals on whom information is collected that:

  • There are not Federal government personal recordkeeping systems whose very existence are secret.
  • Federal personal information files are limited to those that are clearly necessary.
  • They will have an opportunity to see what information about them is kept and to challenge its accuracy.
  • Personal information collected for one purpose not be used for another purpose without their consent.
  • If disclosures are made, they will find out to whom they were made, for what purpose and on what date.

For more information, please refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Privacy Policy website.

Privacy Act Exemptions

  • Exemption (d)(5) Information compiled in reasonable anticipation of civil action or proceeding.
  • Exemption (j)(1) System of records maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency or
  • Exemption (j)(2) maintained by an agency or component thereof which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws.
  • Exemption (k)(1) Classified information. Exemption (k)(2) Non-criminal law enforcement records.
  • Exemption (k)(3) Secret Service records. Exemption (k)(4) Statistical records.
  • Exemption (k)(5) Investigatory material compiled for determining suitability for employment, etc., to extent information would reveal identity of a confidential source.
  • Exemption (k)(6) Testing and examination materials.
  • Exemption (k)(7) Military evaluative records.

Forest Service Privacy Act Systems of Records