THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary (Eisenach, Germany) ___________________________________________ For Immediate Release May 14, 1998 May 14, 1998 MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES SUBJECT: Privacy and Personal Information in Federal Records
Privacy is a cherished American value, closely linked to our concepts of personal freedom and well-being. At the same time, fundamental principles such as those underlying the First Amendment, perhaps the most important hallmark of American democracy, protect the free flow of information in our society.
The Federal Government requires appropriate information about its citizens to carry out its diverse missions mandated by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Long mindful of the potential for misuse of Federal records on individuals, the United States has adopted a comprehensive approach to limiting the Government's collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. Protections afforded such information include the Privacy Act of 1974, the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, and the Principles for Providing and Using Personal Information ("Privacy Principles"), published by the Information Infrastructure Task Force on June 6, 1995, and available from the Department of Commerce.
Increased computerization of Federal records permits this information to be used and analyzed in ways that could diminish individual privacy in the absence of additional safeguards. As development and implementation of new information technologies create new possibilities for the management of personal information, it is appropriate to reexamine the Federal Government's role in promoting the interests of a democratic society in personal privacy and the free flow of information. Accordingly, I hereby direct the heads of executive departments and agencies ("agencies") as follows: It shall be the policy of the executive branch that agencies shall:
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