Section 4.21 Purpose and scope.

(a) This subpart establishes policies and procedures for implementing the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552a). The main objectives of the subpart are to facilitate full exercise of rights conferred on individuals under the Act, and to protect the privacy of individuals on whom the Department maintains records in systems of records under the Act.

(b) The Department shall act promptly and in accordance with the Act upon receipt of any inquiry, request or appeal from a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence into the United States, regardless of the individual's age. Further, the Department shall maintain only such information on individuals as is relevant and necessary to the performance of its lawful functions; maintain that information with such accuracy, relevancy, timeliness, and completeness as is reasonably necessary to assure fairness in determinations made by the Department about the individual; obtain information from the individual to the extent practicable; and take every reasonable step to protect that information from unwarranted disclosure. The Department shall maintain no record describing how an individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized to do so by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained, or unless to do so is pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity. An individual's name and address shall not be sold or rented by the Department unless such action is specifically authorized by law.

(c) This subpart applies to all components of the Department. Components may promulgate supplementary orders and rules not inconsistent with this subpart.

(d) The Assistant Secretary for Administration is delegated responsibility for maintaining this subpart, for issuing such orders and directives internal to the Department as are necessary for full compliance with the Act, and for publishing all required notices concerning systems of records.

(e) Matters outside the scope of this subpart include:

  1. Requests for records that do not pertain to the requester, or to the individual about whom the request is made if the requester is the parent or guardian of the individual;
  2. Requests involving information pertaining to an individual that is in a record or file but not within the scope of a system of records notice published in the Federal Register;
  3. Requests to correct a record if a grievance procedure is available to the individual either by regulation or through a provision
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    in a collective bargaining agreement with the Department or a component of the Department, and the individual has initiated, or expressed in writing the intention of initiating, such a grievance procedure; and
  4. Requests for employee-employer services and counseling that were routinely granted prior to enactment of the Act, including, but not limited to, test calculations of retirement benefits, explanations of health and life insurance programs, and explanations of tax withholding options.

(f) Any request for records that pertains to the requester, or to the individual about whom the request is made if the requester is the parent or guardian of the individual, shall be processed under the Act and this subpart and under the Freedom of Information Act and the Department's implementing regulations at subpart A of this part, regardless whether the Act or the Freedom of Information Act is mentioned in the request.