OVERVIEW OF THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974

AGENCY REQUIREMENTS

Each agency that maintains a system of records shall--

A. 5 U.S.C.  552a(e)(1)

"maintain in its records only such information about an individual as is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required to be accomplished by statute or by executive order of the President."

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This subsection is not violated so long as the maintenance of the information at issue is relevant and necessary to accomplish a legal purpose of the agency. See, e.g., Reuber v. United States, 829 F.2d 133, 139-40 (D.C. Cir. 1987); National Fed'n of Fed. Employees v. Greenberg, 789 F. Supp. 430, 433-34 (D.D.C. 1992), vacated & remanded on other grounds, 983 F.2d 286 (D.C. Cir. 1993); Beckette v. United States Postal Serv., No. 88-802, slip op. at 9-10 (E.D. Va. July 3, 1989); NTEU v. IRS, 601 F. Supp. 1268, 1271 (D.D.C. 1985); Chocallo v. Bureau of Hearings & Appeals, 548 F. Supp. 1349, 1368 (E.D. Pa.), aff'd, 716 F.2d 889 (3d Cir. 1983) (unpublished table decision); see also Felsen v. HHS, No. CCB-95-975, slip op. at 59-61 (D. Md. Sept. 30, 1998) (subsection (e)(1) "refers to the types of information maintained and whether they are germane to the agency's statutory mission," and "does not incorporate [an] accuracy standard"); Jones v. United States Dep't of the Treasury, No. 82-2420, slip op. at 2 (D.D.C. Oct. 18, 1983) (ruling that maintenance of record concerning unsubstantiated allegation that BATF Special Agent committed crime was "relevant and necessary"), aff'd, 744 F.2d 878 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (unpublished table decision); OMB Guidelines, 40 Fed. Reg. 28,948, 28,960-61 (1975); 120 Cong. Rec. 40,407 (1974), reprinted in Source Book at 863; cf. AFGE v. HUD, 118 F.3d 786, 794 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (holding agency use of release form on employment suitability questionnaire constitutional in light of Privacy Act's subsection (e)(1) requirement and "relying on the limitation that the release form authorizes the government to obtain only relevant information used to verify representations made by the employee"); Barlow v. VA, No. 92-16744, 1993 WL 355099, at *1 (9th Cir. Sept. 13, 1993) (VA's request for appellant's medical records did not violate Privacy Act because VA is authorized to request such information and it is "relevant and necessary" to appellant's claim for benefits; citing subsection (e)(1)).


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