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Ekstrom Library

Government Resources: Society: Privacy

Privacy Key Web Links

Privacy Act Overview

The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 552a, establishes certain controls over what personal information is collected by the federal government and how it is used. The act guarantees three primary rights: (1) the right to see records about oneself, subject to the Privacy Act's exemptions; (2) the right to amend that record if it is inaccurate, irrelevant, untimely or incomplete; and (3) the right to sue the government for violations of the statute, including permitting others to see your records, unless specifically permitted by the act. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Information Resellers

The growth in recent years of information resellers—companies that collect, aggregate, and resell publicly available and private information on individuals—has raised privacy and security concerns related to this industry.1 Information resellers maintain and sell vast amounts of detailed personal information on nearly all American consumers—including such things as Social Security numbers, home and automobile values, occupations and hobbies. In addition, security breaches at some of these companies have raised concerns in light of the increasing problem of identity theft. Some policymakers and consumer advocates believe that not enough is known about these resellers and the information about consumers that they maintain and share. (GAO)

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