The Privacy Act of 1974: An Assessment. APPENDIX 4 TO The Report of The Privacy Protection Study Commission.. The Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act

01/07/1977

Because the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) have certain objectives in common, the interrelation between the two statutes was an issue that had to be faced almost before implementation of the Privacy Act could begin. Three areas in particular have required interpretation: (1) the definition of an "agency," which the Privacy Act borrows from the Freedom of Information Act; (2) the responsibilities of an agency when a member of the public asks for a record about an individual under the FOIA; and (3) the responsibilities of an agency when an individual asks for a record about himself under either the FOIA or the Privacy Act, or both. The interpretation of the term "agency" has already been discussed and will be explored further in the section on internal agency disclosures in Chapter 2, below. Here, the focus is on implementation of the Privacy Act against the backdrop of FOIA requirements regarding disclosures to members of the public and to individuals who ask for access to records about themselves.