The Privacy Act of 1974 represents an attempt by Congress to legislate several aspects of personal privacy protection as it relates to federal agency operations and practices. These aspects cover areas ranging from sustaining traditional privacy principles, records held by federal agencies, and the right to fair information practices. Since its enactment, the Privacy Act has been amended on six occasions; actions in 1988 and 1990 establishing new procedures and data protection boards for computer matching are generally seen as being the most significant. Of late, new issues have arisen concerning these matters and some long-prevailing concerns. This report reviews the background and development of the statute, its current provisions, and emerging issues pertaining to it.
CRS Report for Congress, RL30824