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Proposed Rule

Privacy Act; Implementation

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary, DoD.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Office of the Secretary of Defense is proposing to add an exemption rule to an existing system of records. The exemption will protect the privacy of individuals identified in the system of records.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before January 28, 2003, to be considered by this agency.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments to OSD Privacy Act Coordinator, Directives and Records Branch, Washington Headquarters Services, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. David Bosworth at (703) 601-4728.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review”

It has been determined that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense are not significant rules. The rules do not (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy; a sector of the economy; productivity; competition; jobs; the environment; public health or safety; or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another Agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs, or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive order.

Public Law 96-354, “Regulatory Flexibility Act” (5 U.S.C. Chapter 6)

It has been determined that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense do not have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they are concerned only with the administration of Privacy Act systems of records within the Department of Defense.

Public Law 96-511, “Paperwork Reduction Act” (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

It has been determined that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense impose no information requirements beyond the Department of Defense and that the information collected within the Department of Defense is necessary and consistent with 5 U.S.C. 552a, known as the Privacy Act of 1974.

Section 202, Public Law 104-4, “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act”

It has been determined that Privacy Act rulemaking for the Department of Defense does not involve a Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more and that such rulemaking will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

It has been determined that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense do not have federalism implications. The rules do not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

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List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 311

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Accordingly, 32 CFR part 311 is amended to read as follows:

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PART 311—OSD PRIVACY PROGRAM

1. The authority citation for 32 CFR part 311 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: Pub. L. 93-579, 88 Stat. 1896 (5 U.S.C. 552a).

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2. Section 311.8 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(14) to read as follows:

Procedures for exemptions.
* * * * *

(c) Specific exemptions. * * *

(14) System identifier and name: DHRA 02, PERSEREC Research Files.

(i) Exemptions: Investigative material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal Start Printed Page 71120the identity of a confidential source. Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) from the following subsections of 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f).

(ii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5).

(iii) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because to grant access to the accounting for each disclosure as required by the Privacy Act, including the date, nature, and purpose of each disclosure and the identity of the recipient, could alert the subject to the existence of the investigation or prosecutable interest by the Department of Defense or other agencies. This could seriously compromise case preparation by prematurely revealing its existence and nature; compromise or interfere with witnesses or make witnesses reluctant to cooperate; and lead to suppression, alteration, or destruction of evidence.

(B) From subsections (d) and (f) because providing access to investigative records and the right to contest the contents of those records and force changes to be made to the information contained therein would seriously interfere with and thwart the orderly and unbiased conduct of the investigation and impede case preparation. Providing access rights normally afforded under the Privacy Act would provide the subject with valuable information that would allow interference with or compromise of witnesses or render witnesses reluctant to cooperate; lead to suppression, alteration, or destruction of evidence; enable individuals to conceal their wrongdoing or mislead the course of the investigation; and result in the secreting of or other disposition of assets that would make them difficult or impossible to reach in order to satisfy any Government claim growing out of the investigation or proceeding.

(C) From subsection (e)(1) because it is not always possible to detect the relevance or necessity of each piece of information in the early stages of an investigation. In some cases, it is only after the information is evaluated in light of other evidence that its relevance and necessity will be clear.

(D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (H) because this system of records is compiled for investigative purposes and is exempt from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

(E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because to the extent that this provision is construed to require more detailed disclosure than the broad, generic information currently published in the system notice, an exemption from this provision is necessary to protect the confidentiality of sources of information and to protect privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants. The Office of the Secretary of Defense will, nevertheless, continue to publish such a notice in broad generic terms, as is its current practice.

(F) Consistent with the legislative purpose of the Privacy Act of 1974, OSD will grant access to nonexempt material in the records being maintained. Disclosure will be governed by OSD Administrative Instruction #81, but will be limited to the extent that the identity of confidential sources will not be compromised; subjects of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal or civil violation will not be alerted to the investigation; the physical safety of witnesses, informants and law enforcement personnel will not be endangered; the privacy of third parties will not be violated; and that the disclosure would not otherwise impede effective law enforcement. Whenever possible, information of the above nature will be deleted from the requested documents and the balance made available. The controlling principle behind this limited access is to allow disclosures except those indicated in this paragraph. The decisions to release information from these systems will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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Dated: November 18, 2002.

Patricia L. Toppings,

Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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[FR Doc. 02-29814 Filed 11-27-02; 8:45 am]

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