The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a (1994 & Supp. IV 1998), became effective on September 27, 1975. The purpose of the Privacy Act is to balance the government's need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy stemming from federal agencies' collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information about them.
The Act focuses on four basic policy objectives:
- To restrict disclosure of personally identifiable records maintained by agencies.
- To grant individuals increased rights of access to agency records maintained on themselves.
- To grant individuals the right to seek amendment of agency records maintained on themselves upon a showing that the records are not accurate, relevant, timely or complete.
- To establish a code of "fair information practices" which requires agencies to comply with statutory norms for collection, maintenance, and dissemination of records.
For further information please visit the OGC FOIA/PA site at http://www.nsf.gov/policies/foia.jsp.
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