Personal Privacy in an Information Society. Endnotes


1. For example, the Federal Reports Act [44 U.S.C. 3501-3511] provides central structure for the disclosure of Federal agency records. Disclosure is also regulated by the Privacy Act ]5 U.S.C. 552x], the Freedom of Information Act [5 U.S.C. 552], and by specific confidentiality statutes regarding alcohol and drug abuse treatment records [42 U.S.C. 582 and 21 U.S.C. 1175].

2. Testimony of the National Center for Health Statistics, Medical Records, Hearings before the Privacy Protection Study Commission, pp. 54-56.

3. See Richards of Rockford, Inc. v. Pacific Gas & Electric Company 71 F.R.D. 388 (N.D. Cal. 1976); also, Branzburg v. Hayes 408 U.S. 665 (1972) where the Supreme Court held that a Grand Jury, given its unique powers of inquiry and pledge of secrecy could compel a reporter to disclose information that was "relevant and material to a good-faith grand jury investigation."

4. Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology.

5. "Randomizing responses" is a process whereby the respondent is given two questions of which he selects one to answer on a random basis without revealing which question he answered. The researcher can estimate proportions through statistical methods that reflect the incidence of the response to the sensitive question in the population.

6. "Random error injection" is the innoculation of error into a report on a random basis but where the general character of the error is controlled by the researcher so that it is possible to estimate statistical parameters from a large sample even though it is not possible to tell if any given response is accurate.

7. "Microaggregation" is the process of creating many synthetic average persons and releasing data on those rather than on real individuals.

8. A "link-file system" is a system that maintains subject identifications in a file separate from the individual data file and which allows the linkage of subject identities and data about the individual in one or more files through codes that carry no individual identification. Brokerage refers to the maintenance of the link file by an unrelated third party whose sole function is to keep the identity of the record subject anonymous to the record collector and user.

9. A "longitudinal study" involves tracking a group of individuals over time to establish how the state of that group varies and the average relation between an individual's state in one point of time and his state at another point in time.

10. This exchange of information is described in detail in Appendix B to a U.S. Department of Commerce report entitled "The Use of Tax Data in the Structuring of Basic Economic Tools," November 4, 1974.

11. Submission of Department of Defense, Research and Statistics, Hearings before the Privacy Protection Study Commission, January 5, 1971.

12. It must be noted that the grants discussed here are Federal discretionary grants, no formula or block grants, which involve Federal-State issues beyond the scope of these, recommendations.

13. Memorandum from General Counsel William H. Taft III to John Ottina, Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, regarding the application of the Privacy Act to DHEW contractors, May 14, 1976.

14. The Privacy Act already requires that an individual be told whether his participation is mandatory or voluntary and the purposes and nature of the data collection. (5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(3)]

15. 15 The Privacy Act already requires an accounting of such disclosures. [5 U.S.C. 552a(c)]

16. 16 See Note 2, Chapter l3.