The Privacy Act of 1974: An Assessment. APPENDIX 4 TO The Report of The Privacy Protection Study Commission.. Information on First Amendment Rights

01/07/1977

Subsection 3(e)(7) appears to have had little, if any, effect on the collection of information about an individual's exercise of his First Amendment rights. The National Science Foundation reports that it no longer collects such information,6 but most agencies have been able to justify continuation of their previous practices on the grounds that all government agencies are, strictly speaking, involved in some type of law enforcement.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) experience also illustrates some of the difficulties an agency can encounter in implementing subsection 3(e)(7). Under Executive Order 10450, which the Privacy Act superseded in part, the CSC was required to collect association and affiliation information on candidates for government employment. Until April 26, 1977, when it received supplemental funds for 10 new positions, the CSC continued to release Federal employees' files to other agencies without removing the association and affiliation information that had been put in them when Executive Order 10450 was fully in effect.7 Only if an individual asked to see his file would the CSC purge the information, in which case it would give the individual a copy of both the old file and the new, and then destroy the old. With 10 additional positions, however, the CSC will now be able to purge such information before disclosing it to a third party, regardless of whether the individual has asked to see his file.8