Privacy Act Program

The responsibility for the development and maintenance of Privacy Act (PA) policies, procedures, and guidance is handled through the Office of Privacy and Open Government, PA Program. The PA Program Office is also responsible for oversight of the Department of Commerce's PA program. The Department's PA operations are decentralized between 13 bureaus and operating units (BOUs). From this page, you can link to those BOUs to learn about how the PA program is structured, and/or review our guidance and resources related to PA.

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Departmental Privacy Act Officer and responsibilities and PA Mission Statement.


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The FOIA generally provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.

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The PRIVACY ACT of 1974

The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, provides safeguards against invasion of personal privacy through the misuse of records by Federal Agencies.

Please Note:
  • The Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of a record about an individual from a system of records absent the written consent of the individual, unless the disclosure is pursuant to one of twelve statutory exceptions.
  • The Act also provides individuals with a means by which to seek access to and amendment of their records, and sets forth various agency record-keeping requirements.



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A Privacy Act request allows individuals to gain access to their own personal records (unless the requested records are exempted from disclosure), and to seek correction or amendment of federally maintained records that are inaccurate, incomplete, untimely. Privacy Act requests made to the Department of Commerce allows individuals to gain access to records about yourself, and are filed and can be retrieved by your name or personal identifier (e.g., Social Security number).


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A system of records notice (SORN) is intended to inform the public about what kinds of personal information federal agencies maintain; to limit the uses and disclosures of the information to those compatible with the law permitting its collection; and to describe how an individual might request access to their information or to seek redress otherwise.

Notices used by the Department of Commerce

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List of Privacy Act-related resources.

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List of Privacy Act-related training opportunities.


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Frequesntly Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions and factual information about the Privacy Act and related information.


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Questions and Comments

Send Questions or Comments on the Commerce Office of Privacy and Open Government programs to

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce


Page last updated:January 23, 2018