D.1. Disclosures Authorized by the Privacy Act

The Privacy Act authorizes disclosures in the following twelve circumstances:

  1. To agency employees who need the information to perform their job.
  2. As required by the Freedom of Information Act.
  3. For routine uses for which the agency has provided proper notice.
  4. To the Bureau of the Census for purposes related to census and survey activities.
  5. To a recipient who provides advance written assurance that the information will only be used for statistical research or reporting, and the information provided does not identify individuals.
  6. To the National Archives and Records Administration for historic preservation purposes.
  7. To other domestic government agencies for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law. In such cases, the agency head must specify in writing both the law enforcement activity and the particular information needed.
  8. To a person upon a showing of compelling circumstances affecting an individual’s health or safety. The agency must send notice of the disclosure to the individual’s last known address.
  9. To Congress, or to the extent the matter is within their jurisdiction, to any of its committees or subcommittees.
  10. To the Comptroller General in the performance of duties of the Government Accountability Office.
  11. Pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  12. To a consumer reporting agency in order to collect claims owed to the Government.

The Privacy Act allows agencies to disclose information from a system of records if they establish a routine use describing the disclosure (see #3. above). Under the Privacy Act, routine uses are defined as disclosures that are compatible with the purpose for which the information was collected — in other words, disclosures that are appropriate and necessary for the efficient conduct of government business. Routine uses for each system of records are established by publishing them in a Federal Register notice that describes the system. They must also be disclosed in a notice given to an individual when information is collected directly from the individual. The Privacy Act also allows disclosures required by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (see #2 above). USPS regulations implementing the Privacy Act and FOIA are contained in 39 CFR Parts 261-268.