The Privacy Act of 1974, set forth in Title 5, Section 552a, of the United States Code, balances the Government’s need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy resulting from the collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information. In general, the Privacy 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 them;
- To grant individuals the right to seek amendment of agency records maintained on them upon showing that the records are not accurate, relevant, timely, or complete; and,
- To establish a code of “fair information practices” which requires agencies to comply with statutory norms for collection, maintenance, and dissemination of records.
The Privacy Act grants individuals increased rights to access, and seek amendment of, records maintained about them within an agency System of Records. A System of Records is a group of any records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifier assigned to the individual. Additional resources regarding the Privacy Act, including information for how to submit a Privacy Act request to NEH can be found below.
- How to Submit a Privacy Act Request
- NEH Privacy Act Regulations
- NEH Privacy Impact Assessments
- Systems of Records
- Text of the Privacy Act
- DOJ Overview of the Privacy Act
Senior Agency Official for Privacy
Michael P. McDonald
General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel
National Endowment for the Humanities