ERIC Number: ED161785
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Report from the United States: The Privacy Act of 1974 and the Social Sciences Need for Access to Data.
Boruch, Robert F.; Cecil, Joseph S.
This paper examines the effects of Privacy laws on the conduct of legitimate social research. The report focuses on national legislation dealing with individual privacy, in particular the Privacy Act of 1974, and considers several new statutes which concern the privacy of participants in research. A large portion of the paper discusses (1) regulations concerning access to administrative records and data, statistical microdata, and archived data; and and (2) regulations on data handling within social science research. The Privacy Act of 1974 permits individuals to gain access to personal records maintained by federal agencies and to challenge incorrect information. The law restricts the kinds of identifiable information that an agency may collect, and regulates the disclosure of personal information by federal agencies. However disclosure of anonymous records for research purposes is expressly permitted by the law. Following a 1977 meeting between social scientists and the Privacy Protection Study Commission, the Commission recommended disclosure of administrative or research records in identifiable form, for purposes of legitimate research, provided that certain conditions are met. The conditions are generally reasonable, e.g., the disclosure of identifiable records must be necessary to accomplish the research or statistical purpose. (RM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.; National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL. Dept. of Psychology.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act 1974