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Disclosure and Exceptions

street sign arrows that say Disclosure and Exceptions

What are the Exceptions to Disclosure?

The Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of a record about an individual from a system of records absent the written consent of the individual (“No Disclosure without Consent”), unless the disclosure is pursuant to one of twelve statutory exceptions.

Conditions of Disclosure to Third Parties:

The “No Disclosure Without Consent” rule states that “No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains [subject to the 12 exceptions].” 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b).

The twelve exceptions to the “No Disclosure Without Consent” rule are:

  1. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(1) ("need to know" within agency)
  2. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(2) (required FOIA disclosure)
  3. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(3) (routine uses)
  4. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(4) (Bureau of the Census)
  5. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(5) (statistical research)
  6. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(6) (National Archives)
  7. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(7) (law enforcement request)
  8. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(8) (health or safety of an individual)
  9. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(9) (Congress)
  10. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(10) (General Accounting Office)
  11. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(11) (court order)
  12. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(12) (Debt Collection Act)
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