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The purpose of this page is to assist you in requesting various types and categories of public information relating to NWDC programs, per FOIA and the Privacy Act. The FOIA (5 USC 552) is the law that gives the public the right to request information from the government. Not all information is released. Some information is protected under one or more of FIOA's nine exemptions. The Privacy Act (5 USC 552a) is the law that gives protection to an individual's rights to privacy and which tells the government how it is to be done. It is also the law that gives an individual the right to access, and the right to amend, any information pertaining to that individual, which is held in a government system of records.

FOIA Policy

The FOIA policy for the federal government is established by the Department of Justice (DoJ). The DoJ website contains many helpful references. Individual government agencies may establish FOIA policies in accordance with DoJ guidance, and relevant statutory and case law. 

Privacy Act (PA) Policy

The Privacy Act (PA) of 1974 (Public Law 93-579), codified as 5 U.S.C. 552a, establishes safeguards for the protection of records the government collects and maintains on United States citizens and lawfully admitted permanent residents.

Specifically, it mandates that the government inform people at the time it is collecting information about them why the information is being collected and how it will be used, such as:

  • Publish a notice in the Federal Register of new or revised system of records on individuals

  • Assure that information is accurate, relevant, complete and up-to-date before disclosing it to others

  • Allow individuals to find out about disclosures of their records to other agencies or persons

  • Provide individuals with the opportunity to correct inaccuracies in their records

The PA allows individuals to seek access to records retrieved by their name and personal identifier that are contained in a PA system of records; provide written authorization for their representative to act on their behalf; and seek records on behalf of a minor child if they are the legal guardian or parent and are determined to be acting in the minor's best interest.

The DoJ website also provides an overview of the Privacy Act of 1974 , which provides disclosure prohibitions, access and amendment provisions, and agency record keeping requirements. Any inquiry about the Privacy Act's provisions should be made to individual agency Privacy Act officers in conjunction with use of this overview. Particularly important Privacy Act policy/litigation questions, or questions concerning the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines, may be directed to OMB.

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