How to Make a Privacy Act Request

By DON CIO Privacy Team - Published, September 15, 2010

To make a Privacy Act (PA) request, label the request itself and the envelope: "PRIVACY ACT REQUEST." Identify the specific PA system of records notices you wish to have searched. See index of PA System of Records Notices and submit your request according to the requirements set forth under "Record Access Procedures" in the specific SORN in question. PA requests must be signed, so we cannot accept email requests.

What is the Privacy Act?

The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) establishes safeguards for the protection of records the government collects and maintains on U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted permanent residents. Specifically, it mandates that the government inform people at the time it is collecting information about them why the information is being collected and how it will be used; publish a notice in the Federal Register of new or revised systems of records on individuals; assure that information is accurate, relevant, complete and up-to-date before disclosing it to others; allow individuals to find out about disclosures of their records to other agencies or persons; and provide individuals with the opportunity to correct inaccuracies in their records.

The PA allows individuals to seek access to records retrieved by their name and personal identifier that are contained in a PA system of records; provide written authorization for their representative to act on their behalf; and seek records on behalf of a minor child if they are the legal guardian or parent and are determined to be acting in the minor's best interest.

What Types of Records Does the Navy Maintain?

The Navy maintains more than 175 PA systems of records on individuals who are or have been affiliated with the Navy (i.e., military members, civilian and contractor employees, and dependents). Thus, if you have had no affiliation with the Navy, we would not be maintaining records on you. To determine the kinds of records we maintain, simply view the PA System of Records Notices.

What is a PA Systems Notice?

A PA systems notice is a "blueprint" that describes the types of records we maintain, where they are located, why we have a need to collect the records, who has access to the records, how long we maintain the records, etc. Since the majority of all records are not retained permanently, you should review the "Retention and Disposal" section in the systems notice to determine if the records you seek are still being maintained.

What Will Be Released to You?

If you are the subject of the file and the word "None" appears in the last entry in the systems notice titled "Exemptions Claimed for the System," then the entire record will be released to you.

Former Military Members

If you formerly served in the Navy or any other branch of service, your military personnel and medical records are held by the Director, National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. The homepage for that site provides you with the instructions and forms you need to access your records.

Requesting Amendment of Records

The PA allows you seek amendment for information contained about you that is erroneous. This, however, only pertains to factual matters and not matters of opinion. The procedures for requesting amendment are to submit the request in writing (except for routine administrative matters, such as change of address and telephone number); include a description of the information to be amended; reason for amendment; the type of amendment sought and copies of available evidence supporting the request, as the burden of proof rests with you.

Processing Your Request for Amendment

The PA systems manager will normally acknowledge receipt of your request within 10 working days and provide a determination within 30 working days. If your request for amendment is denied in whole or in part, you will be promptly notified in writing and given the opportunity to appeal the determination and/or submit a statement of disagreement that will be maintained in/with the file in question.

PA Appeals

If you wish to appeal a denial of notification, access or amendment submit your written appeal within 60 calendar days; include a copy of the denial letter and statement of reasons for review; and submit your appeal directly to the appropriate appellate authority.

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