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Privacy Act Requests

Component ID: #ti1135122007

What is a Privacy Act Request?

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 Census Bureau allows individuals to gain access to records about yourself, and are filed and can be retrieved by your name or personal identifier (Ex. Social Security number).

Request records under the Freedom of Information Act

Component ID: #ti752018340

Records About Yourself

The Privacy Act (PA) of 1974 is a Federal law that is set forth in Title 5, Section 552a, of the United States Code (5 U.S.C.552a), as amended. The purpose of the PA is to balance the Government's need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy resulting from the collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information. In general, the PA allows individuals to learn how the Federal Government collects, maintains, uses, and disseminates records containing personal information. It also safeguards confidentiality by limiting or restricting disclosure of personally identifiable records maintained by Federal agencies. The PA 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, or irrelevant. As such, the PA establishes a "code of fair information practices," which requires Federal agencies to comply with statutory norms for collecting, maintaining, and disseminating records containing information about individuals.

Under the Privacy Act, you may request copies of any Census Bureau records that:

  • are about you, and
  • are filed and can be retrieved by your name or by a personal identifier (such as your Social Security number).

You can also ask the Census Bureau to correct records that are inaccurate, incomplete, untimely, or irrelevant.

In some cases, the Privacy Act may not allow release of your personal records.

Component ID: #ti1135122005

Where to Request Records

All records for the Census Bureau can be requested directly from the FOIA/Privacy Act staff.  Send your request to the Census Bureau's FOIA Office by:

  • mail to:
    FOIA/PA Officer
    U.S. Census Bureau
    Room 3J235
    4600 Silver Hill Road
    Washington, D. C. 20233-3700

  • email at census.efoia@census.gov; or

  • fax at (301) 763-4158 (ATTN: FOIA/Privacy Act Officer). "Note: You must first call (301) 763-2127 to ensure someone from the FOIA Office is available to receive your fax.

When sending your request, do not include your Social Security Number.

Former employees should contact the U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to request information on background investigations and personnel records.

Component ID: #ti1135122006

How can I make a Privacy Act request?

All Privacy Act requests must be made in writing. There are three basic elements to a request for records under the Privacy Act. First, the letter should state that the request is being made under the Privacy Act. Second, the letter should include the name, address, and signature of the requester. Third, the request should describe the records in as much detail as possible.

You can describe the records by identifying a specific system of records or by describing your contacts or involvement with an agency. If possible, include in your description, information such as the date and place the records were created, file descriptions, subject matter, persons involved, and other pertinent details that will help identify the records.

You are required to provide some proof of identity before records will be disclosed. A completed and signed Certification of Identity form BC-300 [PDF 61k] will meet this requirement.

Include a mailing address and a daytime telephone number so that we can contact you if necessary. When submitting your request by mail, please mark the envelope "PRIVACY ACT REQUEST."

Keep a copy of your request in case you need to refer to it in further correspondence with the agency.

 

Related Materials

.pdf   BC-300 Certification of Identity   [1.0 MB]
Privacy Act Request
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