Sensitive information is typically afforded a higher level of privacy protection under the Privacy Act than other personal information. The Privacy Act determines whether information is personal information if an individual may be identified or is "reasonably identifiable" under the given circumstances. If it is not, then it cannot be protected as confidential under the act.
An agency that collects or stores personal information must take reasonable steps to ensure that it is kept secure. This includes using security measures to prevent unauthorized access to data, maintaining software to protect sensitive information, and taking other appropriate steps.
Agency officials should consider the type of information they collect, how long they keep this information, and how they plan to use it before deciding what steps to take to protect it.
For example, agencies should use password protection to restrict access to sensitive information such as social security numbers and financial records. Agencies should also make sure that employees do not share personal information with others without first discussing their concerns with their supervisors.
Finally, agencies should regularly assess their information collection and dissemination practices to make sure they are still necessary and effective.
The Privacy Act governs how personal information about persons is handled. The Privacy Act allows you more control over how your personal information is treated as an individual. The Privacy Act gives you the right to: request access to your personal information (including health information); change or correct that information; object to our handling of your personal information; and file a lawsuit if you believe we have mishandled your personal information.
The Privacy Act was passed by Congress in 1974. Since then, many other laws have been passed to help protect personal information. These include: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996; the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 2000; the Patriot Act of 2001; and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.
Laws are changed all the time or modified so they don't cover new technologies. But, under the Privacy Act, companies must follow certain rules when they collect, use, or share your personal information. If a company fails to comply with its obligations, you can file a claim with the Department of Commerce's Office of Civil Rights. Your attorney will be able to advise you on what options are available to you if your claim is not resolved through negotiations with the company.
The Privacy Act only applies to information kept in a "system of records," which the Act defines as a collection of agency-controlled records from which information can be retrieved using a unique identifier such as an individual's name, date of birth, social security number, or employee identification number. The agency must maintain this record system in order for it to be subject to the Act.
If no such record system exists, then the information cannot be subjected to the Act's privacy requirements. For example, if an agency receives information about you in connection with a particular transaction, such as a sale or loan, then that information would not be maintained in a system of records because it could not be retrieved using a unique identifier. However, if the same agency later decides to use the information for some other purpose, such as offering credit cards with lower interest rates, then that information would become subject to the Privacy Act because it could be retrieved using your personal identifying information.
The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. SS 552a) safeguards personal information stored by the federal government by prohibiting unauthorized disclosures. Individuals may also examine such information, seek corrections, and be notified of any disclosures. The Criminal Justice Information System (CIJS) is a law enforcement tool that maintains criminal history records. CIJS receives its data from various sources including local police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other agencies. Using this data, officers can identify possible connections between suspects or witnesses and other crimes.
Keeping someone's personal information private is not always easy because many things can be considered "personal information" including names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, and even medical records. Private individuals cannot legally deny others access to their personal information but they can decide what type of company they want to work for and what types of businesses they want to do business with. For example, an individual could choose not to sell their name and address information to any company - public or private.
Private companies need ways to conduct business with one another so they often compile our personal information into databases that can then be accessed by anyone who needs it. Private companies can use statistical analysis tools such as regression models to predict future behavior or find patterns in large sets of data.
The Privacy Act contains a number of principles that govern the collection, storage, use, dissemination, transfer, and protection of a person's personal information by either public or private organizations. These principles include: notice before any information is collected; access to information; reasonable security; and limitations on how your information can be used.
In addition, service providers who work with companies that process personal information must comply with applicable data privacy laws when they perform services for such companies. Service providers may not use your personal information for purposes other than those described in this statement.
Finally, companies that collect personal information have an obligation to protect it. This includes protecting against unauthorized disclosure or accidental loss.
Companies that fail to comply with these laws may be subject to fines or other penalties. In addition, individuals can file lawsuits if they believe that their rights under the law have been violated.
However, even if a company follows all relevant laws, it does not guarantee that its practices will be deemed ethical. Many businesses collect personal information for marketing purposes, but do not tell consumers what information will be shared or how it will be used. Some businesses may even sell or give away customers' personal information without their consent. Such actions are unacceptable and run counter to the spirit of most privacy laws.