Privacy Program

NIST is committed to safeguarding personal privacy. Individual trust in the privacy and security of personally identifiable information is a foundation of trust in government and commerce in the 21st Century. As an employer, a collector of data on millions of individuals and companies, the developer of information management standards and a federal advisor on information management policy, the Department strives to be a leader in best privacy practices and privacy policy. To further this goal, NIST assigns a high priority to privacy considerations in all systems, programs, and policies.  

The Chief Privacy Officer is responsible for the development and maintenance of privacy policies, procedures, and guidance essential to safeguarding the collection, access, use, dissemination, and storage of personally identifiable information (PII), business identifiable information (BII), and Privacy Act information in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the E-Government Act of 2002, Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) of 2014, and policy and guidance issued by the President and Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Privacy Act of 1974

The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, establishes a code of fair information practices that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies. A system of records is a group of records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifier assigned to the individual.

The Privacy Act requires that agencies give the public notice of their systems of records by publication in the Federal Register. The Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of a record about an individual from a system of records absent the written consent of the individual, unless the disclosure is pursuant to one of twelve statutory exceptions.   Rules exempting systems of records from certain Privacy Act requirements are in 28 CFR Part 16, Subpart E  The Act also provides individuals with a means by which to seek access to and amendment of their records, and sets forth various agency record-keeping requirements.

E-Government Act of 2002

The availability of information, from personal information to public information, is made all the easier today due to technological changes in computers, digitized networks, internet access, and the creation of new information products. The E-Government Act of 2002 recognized that these advances also have important ramifications for the protection of personal information contained in government records and systems.

Privacy Impact Assessments (“PIAs”) are required by Section 208 of the E-Government Act for all Federal government agencies that develop or procure new information technology involving the collection, maintenance, or dissemination of information in identifiable form or that make substantial changes to existing information technology that manages information in identifiable form.    The Office of Management and Budget provides agencies guidance on implementing the provisions of the E-Government Act of 2002.  A PIA is an analysis of how information in identifiable form is collected, stored, protected, shared, and managed. The purpose of a PIA is to demonstrate that system owners and developers have incorporated privacy protections throughout the entire life cycle of a system. The Act requires an agency to make PIAs publicly available, except when an agency in its discretion determines publication of the PIA would raise security concerns, reveal classified (i.e., national security) information, or sensitive (e.g., potentially damaging to a nation interest, law enforcement effort or competitive business interest contained in the assessment) information.  

 

Created December 19, 2016, Updated May 09, 2017

Contact

  • NIST Chief Privacy Officer
    Phone:
    (301) 975-6500
    Fax:
    (301) 975-6500
    100 Bureau Drive
    Mail Stop 1800
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1800
  • DOC Senior Agency Official for Privacy
    Phone:
    (202) 482-1190
    Fax:
    (202) 482-0827
    1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Mail Stop 52010
    Washington, DC 20230