Privacy Protection: Mandating New Arrangements to Implement and Assess Federal Privacy Policy and Practice

Publication Date: August 2004

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: Human rights



When Congress enacted the Privacy Act of 1974, it established a temporary national study commission to conduct a comprehensive assessment of privacy policy and practice in both the public and private sectors and to make recommendations for better protecting the privacy of individuals. While the panel subsequently produced a landmark July 1977 report, its recommendations were not legislatively implemented. Nonetheless, interest in creating new arrangements for better implementing and assessing federal privacy policies and practices continued, as the recent report of the 9/11 Commission attests. A responsive proposal offered of late in the 108th Congress (H.R. 4414) would mandate designating a Chief Privacy Officer within the Office of Management and Budget, as well as privacy officers in each principal department and the independent agencies, and establishing a temporary commission to examine privacy issues related to the government's anti-terrorism efforts. This report will be updated as events warrant.