Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974

Table of Content

Abstract Federal Government’s handling of information related or associated to individuals was embodied with new body of requirements as per The Privacy Act of 1974. The statute incorporated a complex set of explanations and definitions. These definitions were forwarded with several exemptions also. This Act reduced the unnecessary private information accumulation of the federal government.

Further, the Act prevented spread of such information. The Privacy Act of 1974 in addition provided the tool of determining what information the government should record and the ways of correcting information errors. As the Act was passed, scopes of the federal and local government agency was narrowed for denying individual any right, benefit, or privilege for refusing disclosure of his / her SSN (Social Security number). Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974 The Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law No.

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93-579, 88 Stat. 1897 (Dec. 31, 1974) was passed by the US States Congress as there were issues and concerns associated to the abuse of privacy during the tenure of President Richard Nixon. The Act basically imposes certain restrictions in the operational parameters of the federal government. Again, this act ensure better establishment of democracy and freedom. There were limited analyses on the constitutional aspects of the Act.

It can be considered that the sole authority of the federal activities remains with the Congress. The federal governmental agencies collects information about individuals, maintenance of this information is of high importance. For different licenses, benefits and employment these records are of great help. It was found that often these essential records were erroneous.

With the increasing usage of computerized techniques of data storage, risks associated information storage mounted up. In many instances, the information was not securely and properly propagated. Proponents supported the fact that information collection and retention by the federal government agencies should be narrowed. Information only can be used for proper operational requirements. On the other hand, individuals should be provided the opportunity of determining accuracy and inaccuracies of information. Though controversies emerged, both of the Senate and House bills were adopted by their respective bodies on November 21, 1974.There were time constraints and the session made it an issue whether there was enough time to follow the normal practice of appointing a Conference Committee.

Conference committees generally reconcile the conflicting versions of any legislation. Finally the package was accepted and adopted by both the houses of Congress. There are also exceptions as follows: Federal Agency shall not disclose any record from the system through any means. There can be exemptions in case of a written request of the individual to whom the information relates.

Personal records can be used for statistical use by Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Census Bureau. U.S government agency may carry on a routine use and for governmental archival process personal information may be used. Again, for Congressional investigations, law enforcement and other administrative purposes the information can be used. Conclusion: The Privacy Act of 1974 mandates that every Government agency of the U.S has an administrative and physical security system. The system ensures protection of personal records and it also arrests unauthorized release of the same.

This Act regulated operational parameters of federal government to an extent. There are exceptions as well that empowers government to use individual records and personal information. References History of the Privacy Act of 1974, Retrieved on 15.04.2009, (http://www.cavebear.com/archive/nsf-dns/pa_history.htm) Act of Congress: Privacy Act of 1974, Answers.com, Retrieved in 15.04.09 (http://www.answers.com/topic/privacy-act-of-1974) Privacy Act of 1974, Wikipedia, Retrieved on 15.04.09 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privacy_Act_of_1974)  

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Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974. (2017, Feb 21). Retrieved from


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