The Privacy Act of 1974: An Assessment. APPENDIX 4 TO The Report of The Privacy Protection Study Commission.. Limitations on Disclosure


In limiting disclosures, the Commission would retain the objectives of subsection (b) of the Privacy Act [5 U.S.C. 552a(b)], but incorporate the new routine-use and collateral-use definitions, and also establish certain new requirements. Internal disclosures of information would be further restricted by allowing them only if they are necessary and proper for an agency's own mission and functions, and only if they fit within the revised definition of a routine use. [(d)(3)] Routine external disclosures would also have to conform to the new routine-use and collateral-use definitions and, in addition, be certified as conforming by the agency official responsible for overseeing the Act's implementation. [(d)(4)] The Commission has also incorporated pertinent portions of its recommendations on individually identifiable records used for research or statistical purposes. [(d)(14)]

The revised provisions governing routine uses [(d)(3) and (4)] would still be a minimum standard. They would not supersede disclosure prohibitions that are more stringent, but they would supersede existing disclosure authorities that are more general.

Finally, the revision would permit disclosures to members of Congress, but only in response to a Congressional inquiry made at the express request of a constituent to whom the record pertains or, in certain situations, by a relative or legal representative. [(d)(11)] On its face, the current law does not permit a Congressman to receive an agency record about a constituent without the constituent's written consent. This problem was resolved shortly after the Act took effect by establishing such disclosures as routine uses, even though many of them would probably not meet the compatiblepurpose test. The Commission, however, believes that the matter should be addressed directly and therefore proposes the addition of a new subsection