OVERVIEW OF THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974

CONDITIONS OF DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES

B. Twelve Exceptions to the "No Disclosure Without Consent" Rule

5. 5 U.S.C.  552a(b)(5) (statistical research)

"to a recipient who has provided the agency with ad- vance adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical research or reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable."

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The term "statistical record" is defined in

the Act as a record that is not used in making individual determinations. 5 U.S.C.  552a(a)(6). One might question whether this exception to subsection (b) is anomalous: The information it permits to be released is arguably not a "record," see 5 U.S.C.  552a(a)(4), or a "disclosure," see 5 U.S.C.  552a(b), in the first place as it is not identifiable to any individual. However, the OMB Guidelines provide a plausible explanation for this unique provision: "One may infer from the legislative history and other portions of the Act that an objective of this provision is to reduce the possibility of matching and analysis of statistical records with other records to reconstruct individually identifiable records." OMB Guidelines, 40 Fed. Reg. 28,948, 28,954 (1975).


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