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Proposed Rule

Privacy Act of 1974: Implementation of Exemptions; Department of Homeland Security Accident Records

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Privacy Office, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of Proposed Rule Making.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Homeland Security is giving concurrent notice of a revised and updated system of records pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974 for the Department of Homeland Security Accident Records system of records and this proposed rulemaking. In this proposed rulemaking, the Department proposes to exempt portions of the system of records from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act in connection with providing protective services to the President of the United States and other individuals Section 3056 and 3056A of Title 18.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before December 26, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2008-0096, by one of the following methods:

  • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: 1-866-466-5370.
  • Mail: Hugo Teufel III, Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security, Washington DC 20528.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this notice. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For general questions and privacy issues, please contact: Hugo Teufel III (703-235-0780), Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background: Pursuant to the savings clause in the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, Section 1512, 116 Stat. 2310 (November 25, 2002), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its components and offices have relied on preexisting Privacy Act systems of records notices for the collection and maintenance of records that concern accident records.

As part of its efforts to streamline and consolidate its Privacy Act record systems, DHS is establishing a new agency-wide system of records under the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) for DHS accident records. This will ensure that all components of DHS follow the same privacy rules for collecting and handling accident records. DHS will use this system to collect and maintain accident records submitted by DHS personnel and others. In this notice of proposed rulemaking, DHS now is proposing to exempt Accident Records, in part, from certain provisions of the Privacy Act.

The Privacy Act embodies fair information principles in a statutory framework governing the means by which the United States Government collects, maintains, uses, and disseminates personally identifiable information. The Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a “system of records.” A “system of records” is a group of any records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual. Individuals may request their own records that are maintained in a system of records in the possession or under the control of DHS by complying with DHS Privacy Act regulations, 6 CFR part 5.

The Privacy Act requires each agency to publish in the Federal Register a description of the type and character of each system of records that the agency maintains, and the routine uses that are contained in each system in order to make agency recordkeeping practices transparent, to notify individuals regarding the uses to which personally identifiable information is put, and to assist individuals in finding such files within the agency.

The Privacy Act allows Government agencies to exempt certain records from the access and amendment provisions. If an agency claims an exemption, however, it must issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to make clear to the public the reasons why a particular exemption is claimed.

DHS is claiming exemptions from certain requirements of the Privacy Act for Accident Records. Some information in Accident Records relates to the protective services to the President of the United States or other individuals pursuant to Section 3056 and 3056A of Title 18. These exemptions are needed to protect information relating to DHS activities from disclosure to subjects or others related to these activities. Specifically, the exemptions are required to safeguard records in connection with providing protective services to the President of the United States or other individuals pursuant to Section 3056 and 3056A of Title 18.

In appropriate circumstances, where compliance would not appear to interfere with or adversely affect the law enforcement purposes of this system and the overall law enforcement process, the applicable exemptions may be waived on a case by case basis.

A notice of system of records for Accident Records is also published in this issue of the Federal Register.

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List of Subjects in 6 CFR Part 5

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For the reasons stated in the preamble, DHS proposes to amend Chapter I of Title 6, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

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PART 5—DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS AND INFORMATION

1. The authority citation for Part 5 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135; 5 U.S.C. 301. Subpart A also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552. Subpart B also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552a.

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2. Add at the end of Appendix C to Part 5, the following new paragraph 14:

Appendix C to Part 5—DHS Systems of Records Exempt From the Privacy Act

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14. The Department of Homeland Security Accident Records system of records consists of electronic and paper records and will be used by DHS and its components. Accident Records is a repository of information held by DHS in connection with its several and varied missions and functions, including, but not limited to: the enforcement of civil and criminal laws; investigations, inquiries, and proceedings there under; national security and intelligence activities; and protection of the President of the United States or other individuals pursuant to Section 3056 and 3056A of Title 18. Accident Records contains information that is collected by, on behalf of, in support of, or in cooperation with DHS and its components and may contain personally identifiable information collected by other Federal, State, local, tribal, foreign, or international government agencies. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(3) this system is exempt from the following provisions of the Privacy Act, subject to the limitations set forth in those subsections: 5 U.S.C. 552a (d). Exemptions from these particular subsections are justified, on a case-by-case basis to be determined at the time a request is made, for the following reasons:

(a) From subsection (d) (Access to Records) because access to the records contained in this system of records could inform the subject of information related to the protection of a President of the United States or other individuals pursuant to Section 3056 and 3056A of Title 18. Permitting access and amendment to such information could disclose security-sensitive information that could be detrimental to homeland security.

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Dated: November 18, 2008.

Hugo Teufel III,

Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.

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[FR Doc. E8-28061 Filed 11-24-08; 8:45 am]

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