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Digital Privacy: Federal Privacy Legislation

Federal Privacy Legislation

Search Congress.gov or FDSys (Federal Digital System) for federal legislative information, bill statuses, and summaries.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized." (U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendment IV)

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) "provides parents/guardians control over what type of information that websites can collect from children, particularly those children under the age of 13."

The Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 "requires Federal agencies to enter into written agreements with other agencies or non-Federal entities before disclosing records for use in computer matching programs."

The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015 draft "establishes baseline protections for individual privacy in the commercial arena to foster timely, flexible implementations of these protections through enforceable codes of conduct developed by diverse stakeholders." 

The Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2015 (S 2404) and the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2015 (HR 2734 and S 1563) were recently introduced. "Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2015 requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promulgate: (1) regulations that establish standards for the implementation of a mechanism by which individuals can indicate whether they prefer to have personal information collected by providers of online services, including by providers of mobile applications and services; and (2) rules that prohibit such providers from collecting personal information on, and from discriminating against, individuals who have expressed a preference not to have such information collected. Do Not Track Kids Act of 2015 amends the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to apply the prohibitions against collecting personal information from children to online applications and mobile applications directed to children. Establishes additional privacy protections against the collection of personal or geolocation information from children and minors."

The Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994 "prohibits the release and use of certain personal information from State motor vehicle
records."

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act "protects wire, oral, and electronic communications while those communications are being made, are in transit, and when they are stored on computers. The Act applies to email, telephone conversations, and data stored electronically. The Stored Communications Act protects the privacy of stored electronic communications, either before such a communication is transmitted to the recipient, or, if a copy of the message is kept, after it is delivered."

The Email Privacy Act (HR 1852) "amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to prohibit a provider of remote computing service or electronic communication service to the public from knowingly divulging to any governmental entity the contents of any communication that is in electronic storage or otherwise maintained by the provider."

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPAestablishes national standards regarding health information privacy.  

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. Overview

The Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 was enacted to provide the financial records of financial institution customers a reasonable amount of privacy from federal government scrutiny. It establishes specific procedures that government authorities must follow when requesting a customer’s financial records from a bank or other financial institution.

The USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism  Act of 2001) was enacted to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and other purposes, some of which include: To strengthen U.S. measures to prevent, detect and prosecute international money laundering and financing of terrorism; to subject to special scrutiny foreign jurisdictions, foreign financial institutions, and classes of international transactions or types of accounts that are susceptible to criminal abuse; to require all appropriate elements of the financial services industry to report potential money laundering; and to strengthen measures to prevent use of the U.S. financial system for personal gain by corrupt foreign officials and facilitate repatriation of stolen assets to the citizens of countries to whom such assets belong.

The Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 prevents disclosure of personally identifiable records of video rentals or purchases by consumers. 

The Wireless Communication and Public Safety Act of 1999  was enacted to promote and enhance public safety through use of 911 as the universal emergency assistance number, and for other purposes.