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Privacy Act; Implementation

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AGENCY:

Department of the Air Force, DoD.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Department of the Air Force is revising an existing exemption rule for the Privacy Act system of records notice F031 AF SP A, entitled Correction and Rehabilitation Records. The amendments consist of changing the system identifier to F031 AF SF A, and revising the reasons for exempting from disclosure certain subsections of the Privacy Act of 1974.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

October 30, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mrs. Anne Rollins at (703) 601-4043 or DSN 329-4043.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The proposed rule was published on August 29, 2003, at 68 FR 51959. No comments were received; therefore, the rule is being adopted as published.

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 the 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 the 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 806b

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Accordingly,

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PART 806b—AIR FORCE PRIVACY ACT PROGRAM

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1. The authority citation for

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

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2. Paragraph (a)(5) of Appendix C to part 806b is revised to read as follows:

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Appendix C to Part 806b—General and Specific Exemptions

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(a) General exemptions. * * *

(5) System identifier and name: F031 AF SF A, Correction and

Rehabilitation Records.

(i) Exemption: (A) Parts of this system may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency, which performs as its principle function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws.

(B) Portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from the following subsections of 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

(ii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

(iii) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of the disclosure accounting, for disclosures pursuant to the routine uses published for this system, would permit the subject of a criminal investigation or matter under investigation to obtain valuable information concerning the nature of that investigation which will present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

(B) From subsection (c)(4) because an exemption is being claimed for subsection (d), this subsection will not be applicable.

(C) From subsection (d) because access to the records contained in this system would inform the subject of a criminal investigation of the existence of that investigation, provide the subject of the investigation with information that might enable him to avoid detection or apprehension, and would present a serious impediment to law enforcement.

(D) From subsection (e)(3) would constitute a serious impediment to law enforcement in that it could compromise the existence of a confidential investigation, reveal the identity of confidential sources of information and endanger the life and physical safety of confidential informants.

(E) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (H) because this system of records is exempt from individual access pursuant to subsections (j)(2) of the Privacy Act of 1974.

(F) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because the identity of specific sources must be withheld in order to protect the confidentiality of the sources of criminal and other law enforcement information. This exemption is further necessary to protect the privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

(G) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for law enforcement purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light and the accuracy of such information can only be determined in a court of law. The restrictions of subsection (e)(5) would restrict the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment reporting on investigations and impede the development of intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement.

(H) From subsection (e)(8) because the individual notice requirements of subsection (e)(8) could present a serious impediment to law enforcement as this could interfere with the ability to issue search authorizations and could reveal investigative techniques and procedures.

(I) From subsection (f) because this system of records has been exempted from the access provisions of subsection (d).

(J) From subsection (g) because this system of records compiled for law enforcement purposes and has been exempted from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

(K) Consistent with the legislative purpose of the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of the Air Force will grant access to nonexempt material in the records being maintained. Disclosure will be governed by the Department of the Air Force's Privacy Instruction, 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 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 above. The decisions to release information from these systems will be made on a case-by-case basis necessary for effective law enforcement.

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November 20, 2003.

Patricia L. Toppings,

Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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[FR Doc. 03-30400 Filed 12-8-03; 8:45 am]

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