The Privacy Act of 1974 is a companion to the FOIA. The Privacy Act:
- Regulates Federal Government agency record keeping and disclosure practices.
- Allows most individuals to seek access to Federal agency records about themselves.
- Requires that personal information on agency files be accurate, complete, relevant, and timely.
- Requires that agencies obtain information directly from the subject of the record and that information gathered for one purpose may not be used for another purpose.
- Provides civil remedies for individuals whose rights may have been violated.
- Provides that the subject of a record may challenge the accuracy of information.
- Recognizes that legitimate need to restrict disclosure of some information.
- Requires that each Federal agency publish a description of each system of records maintained by the agency that contains personal information. (See the FTC’s systems of records published in the Federal Register)
- Restricts the disclosure of personally identifiable information by Federal agencies.
Consult the Making a Request link if you plan to make a Privacy Act request to the Federal Trade Commission.
Text of the Privacy Act, A Citizen’s Guide on Using FOIA and the Privacy Act to Request Government Records,