OVERVIEW OF THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974

CONDITIONS OF DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES

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

8. 5 U.S.C.  552a(b)(8) (health or safety of an indi-vidual)

"to a person pursuant to a showing of compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual if upon such disclosure notification is transmitted to the last known address of such individual."

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For cases discussing this provision, see Schwarz v. Interpol, No. 94-4111, 1995 U.S. App. LEXIS 3987, at *6 n.2 (10th Cir. Feb. 28, 1995) (unsubstantiated allegations alone do not constitute "showing of compelling circumstances"), and DePlanche v. Califano, 549 F. Supp. 685, 703-04 (W.D. Mich. 1982) (emphasizing emergency nature of exception). According to the OMB Guidelines, the individual about whom records are disclosed "need not necessarily be the individual whose health or safety is at peril; e.g., release of dental records on several individuals in order to identify an individual who was injured in an accident." OMB Guidelines, 40 Fed. Reg. 28,948, 28,955 (1975). This construction, while certainly sensible as a policy matter, appears to conflict with the actual wording of subsection (b)(8).


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