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Proposed Rule

Privacy Act of 1974: Implementation of Exemption

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Transportation Security Administration (TSA), DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

TSA proposes to exempt several systems of records from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act. Public comment is invited.

DATES:

Submit comments by September 17, 2003.

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ADDRESSES:

Address your comments to the Docket Management System, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room Plaza 401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. You must identify the docket number TSA-2003-15900 at the beginning of your comments, and you should submit two copies of your comments. If you wish to receive confirmation that TSA received your comments, include a self-addressed, stamped postcard.

You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://dms.dot.gov. Please be aware that anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of these dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov. You may also review the public docket containing comments in person at the Dockets Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Dockets Office is on the plaza level of the NASSIF Building at the Department of Transportation at the above address.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Conrad Huygen, Privacy Act Officer, TSA Office of Information Management Programs, TSA Headquarters, West Tower, 4th Floor (412S), 601 S. 12th Street, Arlington, VA 22202-4220; telephone (571) 227-1954; facsimile (571) 227-2912.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

TSA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. See ADDRESSES above for information on how to submit comments.

We will file in the docket all comments we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with TSA personnel concerning this rulemaking. The docket is available for public inspection before and after the comment closing date.

We will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed late if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this rulemaking in light of the comments we receive.

If you want TSA to acknowledge receipt of your comments on this rulemaking, include with your comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the docket number appears. We will stamp the date on the postcard and mail it to you.

Availability of Rulemaking Document

You can get an electronic copy using the Internet by—

(1) Searching the Department of Transportation's electronic Docket Management System (DMS) web page (http://dms.dot.gov/​search);

(2) Accessing the Government Printing Office's web page at http://www.access.gpo.gov/​su_​docs/​aces/​aces140.html;​ or

(3) Visiting the TSA's Law and Policy web page at http://www.tsa.dot.gov/​public/​index.jsp.

In addition, copies are available by writing or calling the individual in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Make sure to identify the docket number of this rulemaking.

Background

Prior to March 1, 2003, TSA was an operating administration within the Department of Transportation (DOT). While part of DOT, TSA established several Privacy Act systems of records. Under DOT practice, DOT identified those TSA systems of records that are exempt from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act (pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) or (k) both) in a system notice published in the Federal Register and in an appendix to DOT's Privacy Act regulations (49 CFR part 10, Appendix). On December 24, 2002, DOT published a proposed rule exempting three TSA systems of records from several provisions of the Privacy Act. See 67 FR 78403, Dec. 24, 2002.

As of March 1, 2003, TSA transferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is now republishing the exemptions proposed on December 24, 2002, for its three systems of records now designated as DHS/TSA 001, 002, and 004. TSA also is proposing to exempt DHS/TSA 001 from an additional provision of the Privacy Act. In addition, TSA proposes to exempt five new systems of records from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act.

Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that TSA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. We have determined that there are no current or new information collection requirements associated with this proposed rule.

Analysis of Regulatory Impacts

This proposal is not a “significant regulatory action” within the meaning of Executive Order 12886. Because the economic impact should be minimal, further regulatory evaluation is not necessary. Moreover, I certify that this proposal would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, because the reporting requirements themselves are not changed and because it applies only to information on individuals.

Unfunded Mandates

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48), requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of certain regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector. UMRA requires a written statement of economic and regulatory alternatives for proposed and final rules that contain Federal mandates. A “Federal mandate” is a new or additional enforceable duty, imposed on any State, local, or tribal government, or the private sector. If any Federal mandate causes those entities to spend, in aggregate, $100 million or more in any one year the UMRA analysis is required. This proposal would not impose Federal mandates on any State, local, or tribal government or the private sector.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

TSA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. We determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect 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, and therefore would not have federalism implications.

Environmental Analysis

TSA has reviewed this action for purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347) and has determined that this action will not have a significant effect on the human environment.

Energy Impact

The energy impact of this document has been assessed in accordance with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act Start Printed Page 49412(EPCA) Public Law 94-163, as amended (42 U.S.C. 6362). We have determined that this rulemaking is not a major regulatory action under the provisions of the EPCA.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 49 CFR part 1507

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The Proposed Amendment

In consideration of the foregoing, the Transportation Security Administration proposes to amend Chapter XII of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

1. Add a part 1507 to read as follows:

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PART 1507 PRIVACY ACT—EXEMPTIONS

1507.1
Scope.
1507.3
Exemptions.
Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 114(l)(1), 40113, 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(1)-(k)(2).

End Authority
Scope.

This part implements provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 that permit TSA to exempt any system of records within the agency from certain requirements of the Act. The procedures governing access to, and correction of, records in a TSA system of records are set forth in 6 CFR part 5, subpart B.

Exemptions.

The following TSA systems of records are exempt from certain provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j), (k), or both as set forth below. During the course of normal agency functions, exempt materials from one system of records may become part of one or more other systems of records. To the extent that any portion of a system of records becomes part of another Privacy Act system of records, TSA hereby claims the same exemptions as were claimed in the original primary system of which they are a part and claims any additional exemptions in accordance with this rule.

(a) Transportation Security Enforcement Record System (DHS/TSA 001). The Transportation Security Enforcement Record System (TSERS) (DHS/TSA 001) enables TSA to maintain a system of records related to the screening of passengers and property and they may be used to identify, review, analyze, investigate, and prosecute violations or potential violations of transportation security laws. Pursuant to exemptions (k)(1) and (k)(2) of the Privacy Act, DHS/TSA 001 is exempt from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f). Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons:

(1) From subsection (c)(3) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could alert the subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of the investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of the Transportation Security Administration as well as the recipient agency. Disclosure of the accounting would therefore present a serious impediment to transportation security law enforcement efforts and efforts to preserve national security. Disclosure of the accounting would also permit the individual who is the subject of a record to impede the investigation and avoid detection or apprehension, which undermines the entire system.

(2) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the records contained in this system of records could inform the subject of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal, civil, or regulatory violation to the existence of the investigation and reveal investigative interest on the part of the Transportation Security Administration as well as the recipient agency. Access to the records would permit the individual who is the subject of a record to impede the investigation and avoid detection or apprehension. Amendment of the records would interfere with ongoing investigations and law enforcement activities and impose an impossible administrative burden by requiring investigations to be continuously reinvestigated. The information contained in the system may also include properly classified information, the release of which would pose a threat to national defense and/or foreign policy. In addition, permitting access and amendment to such information also could disclose security-sensitive information that could be detrimental to transportation security.

(3) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information) because in the course of investigations into potential violations of transportation security laws, the accuracy of information obtained or introduced, occasionally may be unclear or the information may not be strictly relevant or necessary to a specific investigation. In the interests of effective enforcement of transportation security laws, it is appropriate to retain all information that may aid in establishing patterns of unlawful activity.

(4) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I) (Agency Requirements), and (f) (Agency Rules), because this system is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d).

(b) Transportation Workers Employment Investigations System (DHS/TSA 002). The Transportation Workers Employment Investigations System (TWEI) (DHS/TSA 002) enables TSA to facilitate the performance of employment. Pursuant to exemptions (k)(1) and (k)(2) of the Privacy Act, DHS/TSA 002 is exempt from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f). Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons:

(1) From subsection (c)(3) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could reveal investigative interest on the part of the recipient agency that obtained the record pursuant to a routine use. Disclosure of the accounting could therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts on the part of the recipient agency, as the individual who is the subject of a record would learn of third-agency investigative interests and thereby avoid detection or apprehension.

(2) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the records contained in this system could reveal investigative techniques and procedures in the transportation workers employment investigation process, as well as the nature and scope of the employment investigation, the disclosure of which could enable individuals to circumvent agency regulations or statutes and obtain access to sensitive information and restricted areas in the transportation industry. The information contained in the system might include properly classified information, the release of which would pose a threat to national defense and/or foreign policy. In addition, permitting access and amendment to such information could reveal sensitive security information protected pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 114(s), the disclosure of which could be detrimental to the security of transportation.

(3) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information) because third agency records obtained or made available to TSA during the course of an employment investigation may occasionally contain information that is not strictly relevant or necessary to a specific employment investigation. In the interests of administering an effective and comprehensive transportation worker employment investigation program, it is appropriate and necessary for the Transportation Security Administration to retain all Start Printed Page 49413such information that may aid in that process.

(4) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I) (Agency Requirements), and (f) (Agency Rules), because this system is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d).

(c) Personnel Background Investigation File System (DHS/TSA 004). DHS/TSA 004 enables TSA to maintain investigative and background material used to make suitability and eligibility determinations regarding current and former TSA employees, applicants for TSA employment, and TSA contract employees. Pursuant to exemption (k)(5) of the Privacy Act, the Personnel Background Investigation File System is exempt from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) (Accounting for Disclosures) and (d) (Access to Records). Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified because this system contains investigatory material compiled solely for determining suitability, eligibility, and qualifications for Federal civilian employment. To the extent that the disclosure of material would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to the Government under an express promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence, or, prior to September 27, 1975, under an implied promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence, the applicability of exemption (k)(5) will be required to honor promises of confidentiality should the data subject request access to or amendment of the record, or access to the accounting of disclosures of the record.

(d) Internal Investigation Record System (DOT/TSA 005). The Internal Investigation Record System (IIRS) (DOT/TSA 005) contains records of internal investigations for all modes of transportation for which TSA has security-related duties. This system covers information regarding investigations of allegations or appearances of misconduct of current or former TSA employees or contractors and provides support for any adverse action that may occur as a result of the findings of the investigation. Pursuant to exemptions (k)(1) and (k)(2) of the Privacy Act, DOT/TSA 005 is exempt from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f). Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons:

(1) From subsection (c)(3) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could reveal investigative interest on the part of the recipient agency that obtained the record pursuant to a routine use. Disclosure of the accounting could therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts on the part of the recipient agency, as the individual who is the subject of a record would learn of third-agency investigative interests and thereby avoid detection or apprehension.

(2) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the records contained in this system could reveal investigative techniques and procedures of the Office of Internal Affairs and Program Review, as well as the nature and scope of the investigation, the disclosure of which could enable individuals to circumvent agency regulations or statutes. The information contained in the system might include properly classified information, the release of which would pose a threat to national defense and/or foreign policy. In addition, permitting access and amendment to such information could reveal sensitive security information protected pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 114(s), the disclosure of which could be detrimental to the security of transportation.

(3) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information) because third agency records obtained or made available to TSA during the course of an investigation may occasionally contain information that is not strictly relevant or necessary to a specific investigation. In the interests of administering an effective and comprehensive investigation program, it is appropriate and necessary for the Transportation Security Administration to retain all such information that may aid in that process.

(4) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I) (Agency Requirements), and (f) (Agency Rules), because this system is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d).

(e) Correspondence and Matters Tracking Records (DOT/TSA 006). The Correspondence and Matters Tracking Records (CMTR) (DOT/TSA 006) system allows TSA to manage, track, retrieve, and respond to incoming correspondence, inquiries, claims and other matters presented to TSA for disposition, and to monitor the assignment, disposition and status of such matters. This system covers information coming into TSA from individuals as well as information recorded by TSA employees in the performance of their duties. Pursuant to exemptions (k)(1) and (k)(2) of the Privacy Act, DOT/TSA 006 is exempt from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f). Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons:

(1) From subsection (c)(3) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could reveal investigative interest on the part of the recipient agency that obtained the record pursuant to a routine use. Disclosure of the accounting could therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts on the part of the recipient agency, as the individual who is the subject of a record would learn of third-agency investigative interests and thereby avoid detection or apprehension.

(2) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the records contained in this system could reveal investigative interest on the part of TSA or other agency and the nature of that interest, the disclosure of which could enable individuals to circumvent agency regulations or statutes. The information contained in the system might include properly classified information, the release of which would pose a threat to national defense and/or foreign policy. In addition, permitting access and amendment to such information could reveal sensitive security information protected pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 114(s), the disclosure of which could be detrimental to the security of transportation.

(3) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information) because third agency records obtained or made available to TSA during the course of an investigation may occasionally contain information that is not strictly relevant or necessary to a specific investigation. In the interests of administering an effective and comprehensive investigation program, it is appropriate and necessary for the Transportation Security Administration to retain all such information that may aid in that process.

(4) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I) (Agency Requirements), and (f) (Agency Rules), because this system is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d).

(f) Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Records (DHS/TSA 007). The Freedom of Information (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA) Record System (DHS/TSA 007) system enables TSA to maintain records that will assist in processing access requests and administrative appeals under the FOIA and access and amendment requests and appeals under the PA; participate in associated litigation; and assist TSA in carrying out any other responsibilities under the FOIA and PA. Pursuant to exemptions (k)(1) and (k)(2) of the Privacy Act, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Records are exempt Start Printed Page 49414from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f). Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons:

(1) From subsection (c)(3) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could reveal investigative interest on the part of the recipient agency that obtained the record pursuant to a routine use. Disclosure of the accounting could therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts on the part of the recipient agency, as the individual who is the subject of a record would learn of third-agency investigative interests and thereby avoid detection or apprehension.

(2) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the records contained in this system could reveal investigative interest on the part of TSA or other agency and the nature of that interest, the disclosure of which could enable individuals to circumvent agency regulations or statutes. The information contained in the system might include properly classified information, the release of which would pose a threat to national defense and/or foreign policy. In addition, permitting access and amendment to such information could reveal sensitive security information protected pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 114(s), the disclosure of which could be detrimental to the security of transportation.

(3) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information) because third agency records obtained or made available to TSA during the course of an investigation may occasionally contain information that is not strictly relevant or necessary to a specific investigation. In the interests of administering an effective and comprehensive investigation program, it is appropriate and necessary for the Transportation Security Administration to retain all such information that may aid in that process.

(4) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I) (Agency Requirements), and (f) (Agency Rules), because this system is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d).

(g) General Legal Records System (DHS/TSA 009). The General Legal Records (GLR) System (DHS/TSA 009) enables TSA to maintain records that will assist attorneys to perform their functions within the office of Chief Counsel, to include providing legal advice, responding to claims filed by employees and others, and assisting in litigation and in the settlement of claims. Pursuant to exemptions (k)(1) and (k)(2) of the Privacy Act, DHS/TSA 009 is exempt from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f). Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons:

(1) From subsection (c)(3) (Accounting for Disclosures) because release of the accounting of disclosures could reveal investigative interest on the part of the recipient agency that obtained the record pursuant to a routine use. Disclosure of the accounting could therefore present a serious impediment to law enforcement efforts on the part of the recipient agency, as the individual who is the subject of a record would learn of third-agency investigative interests and thereby avoid detection or apprehension.

(2) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the records contained in this system could reveal investigative interest on the part of TSA or other agency and the nature of that interest, the disclosure of which could enable individuals to circumvent agency regulations or statutes. The information contained in the system might include properly classified information, the release of which would pose a threat to national defense and/or foreign policy. In addition, permitting access and amendment to such information could reveal sensitive security information protected pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 114(s), the disclosure of which could be detrimental to the security of transportation.

(3) From subsection (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information) because third agency records obtained or made available to TSA during the course of an investigation may occasionally contain information that is not strictly relevant or necessary to a specific investigation. In the interests of administering an effective and comprehensive investigation program, it is appropriate and necessary for the Transportation Security Administration to retain all such information that may aid in that process.

(4) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I) (Agency Requirements), and (f) (Agency Rules), because this system is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d).

(h) Federal Flight Deck Officer Records System (DHS/TSA 013). The Federal Flight Deck Officer Record System (FFDORS) enables TSA to maintain a system of records documenting the application, selection, training, and requalification of pilots deputized by TSA to perform the duties of a Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO). Pursuant to exemptions (k)(1), (k)(2), and (k)(6) of the Privacy Act, DHS/TSA 013 is exempt from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), and (e)(1). Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons:

(1) From (c)(3) (Accounting of Certain Disclosures) and (d) (Access to Records), because access to the accounting of disclosures in this system could reveal the identity of a confidential source that provided information during the background check process. Without the ability to protect the identity of a confidential source, the agency's ability to gather pertinent information about candidates for the program may be limited. In addition, the system might contain information that is properly classified, the release of which would pose a threat to national security and/or foreign policy, or information the disclosure of which could be detrimental to the security of transportation pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 114(s). Finally, the agency must be able to protect against access to testing or examination material as release of this material could compromise the effectiveness of the testing and examination procedure itself. The examination material contained in this system is so similar in form and content to the examination material used to determine individual qualifications for the appointment or promotion of TSA law enforcement officers, that release of the material would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the testing or examination process of those TSA employees.

(2) From (e)(1) (Relevancy and Necessity of Information), because information obtained or made available to TSA from other agencies and other sources during the evaluation of an individual's suitability for an FFDO position may occasionally include information that is not strictly relevant or necessary to the specific determination regarding that individual. In the interests of effective program administration, it is appropriate and necessary for TSA to collect all such information that may aid in the FFDO selection process.

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Issued in Arlington, Virginia, on August 8, 2003.

Susan T. Tracey,

Deputy Chief Administrative Officer.

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[FR Doc. 03-20926 Filed 8-15-03; 8:45 am]

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