Minimizing Disclosure Risk in HHS Open Data Initiatives. 3. Title 20, Section 9573


The Institute of Education Sciences within the Department of Education compiles statistics and conducts research and evaluations to help further knowledge of education from early childhood through postsecondary schooling. Under federal law, the Institute cannot use any individually identifiable information for purposes other than research or evaluation or publish any information that may identify an individual. For example, individually identifiable information that is collected by the Institute cannot be admitted as evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding without the consent of the individual. Section 9573 of Title 20 defines the requirements for preserving the confidentiality of data collected, maintained, used, and disseminated by the Institute.9 While the assurances of confidentiality are similar to those found in Title 13, however, Section 9573 goes a significant step farther in specifying legal penalties to any individual—not just an employee—who uses data from the Institute to identify individuals and knowingly discloses or uses the information for purposes other than research and evaluation. Such persons may be found guilty of a class E felony and subject to no more than five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

9 “Education Sciences Reform: Confidentiality” Title 20 U.S. Code, Sec. 9573. Available at [ Accessed June 17, 2014.

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