ABOUT THE PRIVACY ACT COMPILATION
The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) biennially compiles and publishes The Privacy
Act Compilation, as directed by the Privacy Act of 1974. The 2009 and 2007 editions
of the Privacy Act Compilation are posted on ofr.gov, a Web site maintained by the
OFR and the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) as an e-Government service of
the NARA/GPO partnership. Documents are available as HTML files.
The Privacy Act Compilation consists of:
- Descriptions of systems of records maintained on individuals by Federal agencies
and agency recordkeeping policies and practices as published in the Federal Register;
- Agency rules of procedure for individuals requesting information about their records,
as codified in the Code of Federal Regulations; and
- Beginning with the 2007, we included on this site Computer matching program notices, as issued under the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988, Public Law 100-503. We discontinued this practice in 2012.
How to Use this Compilation
Identify the system you think may contain information about you and the agency that
maintains those records.
- Records can be searched by agency name, and then further by the title of each individual
- Exceptions: Department of Agriculture and Department of Defense record systems cannot
be searched by title due to the large quantity.
- For Agriculture, search records by sub-agency or office.
- For Defense, search by sub-agency or office, and then further by subject series.
Read the agency's regulations following its systems of records to determine the
procedures that must be followed to obtain information from that agency.
This compilation reflects rules and notices of systems of records published in the
Federal Register on or before December 31, 2009.
For the most recent updates to systems of records notices, refer to the daily
Federal Register. For the most recent updates to Privacy Act regulations,
refer to the daily Federal Register or Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
For Privacy Act Compilations spanning the years 1995 to 2005, see the Privacy Act pages on GPO Access. Documents are
available as ASCII text files.
The Privacy Act Compilation was published first published in 1976. Prior to
2001, the Compilation was published in five volumes, distributed by the U.S. Government
Printing Office (GPO), and made available to Federal depository libraries nationwide.
Related Publications Available from GPO
More About the Privacy Act
The Privacy Act provides safeguards against Federal agencies’ misuse of records
and unwarranted invasions of privacy by:
- Restricting disclosure of personally identifiable records maintained by agencies;
- Granting individuals increased rights of access to records maintained about them;
- Granting individuals the right to seek amendment of records maintained about them
upon a showing that the records are not accurate, relevant, timely or complete;
- Establishing a code of "fair information practices" which requires agencies
to comply with statutory norms for collection, maintenance, use and dissemination
Information You Cannot Get
There are limitations to the kind of information you can get. The agency may refuse
to let you see information that:
Relates to national security;
Could reveal a confidential source; or
Could be used to give people an unfair advantage on a government examination.
Generally, an agency's system notices (description of its systems of records) and
its regulations will describe that agency's limitations on release of information.
Some General Requirements
How to Make a Request
In most cases you can inquire in person or by mail. It will be easier for the agency
to help you, and your request will be handled more quickly, if you follow these
1. Give your full name and address, and sign your request.
2. Specify the system(s) of records you believe contain information about you.
3. Provide the relevant information required by the system you are interested in.
For example, if you are inquiring about any contract you have had with the Government
(loan application, contract, grant application, etc.), give the date and subject
matter, and any identifying numbers that appear on documents you received.
4. Address your request to the person and address given in the system entry.
5. Print the words "PRIVACY ACT REQUEST" on the front of the envelope.
Proof of Identity
Some agencies may need some proof of identity such as:
- A document with your full name and address.
- A document that has your signature and/or your photograph such as a passport, Medicare
card, driver's license, or military id.
- Any other identification specified in the system entry or regulations. If your request
is by mail, you should include copies of whatever documents the agency requires
to prove your identity. There is a penalty for making false statements.
The agency may charge you a fee for a copy of your records, but they may not charge
you for the time and expense of locating them. The agency's regulations usually
state the amount of the fee.
For further information concerning the technical aspects of this volume, call (202)
741–6000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written comments or suggestions should be addressed to the Director, Office of the
Federal Register (NF), National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi
Road, College Park, MD 20740–6001.