SEC Proposes to Revise Privacy Act Regulations

The SEC proposed amendments that would revise, remove or insert certain procedural provisions within the regulations promulgated under the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. The Privacy Act is the principal law governing the handling of personal information in the federal government. Due to the scope of the amendment, the SEC said that it would supersede the current Privacy Act regulations in its entirety.

Specifically, the SEC said that the proposed amendments would:

  • clarify the purpose and scope to the regulations - which is to set forth the "procedures by which individuals may make an inquiry regarding or request access to records about themselves, request an amendment or correction of those records, and request an accounting of disclosures of those records" by the SEC - and update definitions to be more "plainly described";

  • simplify the processes for submitting and receiving responses to information inquiries, requests and administrative appeals;

  • modernize the identity verification process to accommodate electronic verification via facsimile, email or an online SEC form;

  • align the timeline for SEC responses to requests inquiring whether a particular record pertains to the requester with other relevant timeframes;

  • update SEC contact information, including regional office contact information;

  • amend the list of SEC systems of records that may be subject to certain exemption provisions;

  • conform the fee provisions to better reflect existing practices;

  • remove provisions that (i) simply restate language in the Privacy Act, (ii) have been incorporated into other provisions or (iii) are otherwise unnecessary; and

  • insert a provision requiring individual record requests for an accounting of certain record disclosures about the requester that was made publicly available to include the date, nature and purpose of each disclosure.