The Privacy Act of 1974: An Assessment. APPENDIX 4 TO The Report of The Privacy Protection Study Commission.. Discretionary Routine Uses


To facilitate implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, several agencies have declared certain disclosures to the public to be routine uses. Examples include the following:

Interstate Commerce Commission/VII - Consumer Complaint System

This is a public file available for public review under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. Individuals submitting special complaint correspondence to the Commission, unless identifying their desire to remain anonymous, will not be protected from disclosure of the information contained within the complaint letter. [41 F.R. 40433 (September 17,1976)]

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation/44 - Changes in Bank Control Ownership Records

The name of the bank whose control has changed, the seller and purchaser, and the number of shares involved may be distributed to periodicals for publication. [41 F.R. 40425 (September 17, 1976)]

Privacy Protection Study Commission/] - Commission Member and Staff Personnel Records

Files on current employees and commissioners may contain biographic background information, the disclosure of which would not constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and may therefore be made available to the press and the public. [41 F.R. 40436 (September 17, 1976)]

In addition, some agencies have published routine-use notices on their internal uses of information, even though the Act does not require them to do so. The following are typical examples:

U. S. International Trade Commission/1 - Employment and Financial Disclosure Records

These records and information in these records may be used:

a.   By the Deputy Counselor for Employee Responsibilities and Conduct to determine whether or not an employee has a direct or indirect financial interest which conflicts substantially, or appears to conflict substantially, with his U.S.I.T.C. duties or responsibilities.

b.   By the Deputy Counselor to determine whether a U.S.I.T.C. employee has engaged in, directly or indirectly, a financial transaction as a result of, or primarily relying on, information obtained through U.S.I.T.C. employment.

c.   For review by the Deputy Counselor. The Deputy Counselor is responsible for maintaining these records in confidence and may not disclose information from these records to other persons or agencies except as the Civil Service Commission or the Chairman of the U.S.I.T.C. may determine for good cause shown. [41 F.R. 40045 (September 16, 1976)]

U.S. International Trade Commission/2 - Budgetary and Payroll Related Records

These records are used only for the purpose of computing the budget and keeping a record of certain employees' expenses. [41 F. R. 40045 (September 16, 1976)]

Consumer Product Safety Commission/10 - Employee Merit Promotion Program

These records and information in the records may be used:

  1. To respond to requests from employees regarding the status of the merit promotion case.
  2. To provide information to the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity when an individual files a discrimination complaint.
  3. To respond to a court subpoena and/or refer to a district court in connection with a civil suit.
  4. To adjudicate an appeal, complaint, or grievance.
  5. To effectuate promotion of employees concerned. [41 F.R. 37296 (September 2, 1976)]