Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2885 (rh) To provide uniform safeguards for the confidentiality of information [Reported in House] ...

H.R. 2885 (rh) To provide uniform safeguards for the confidentiality of information [Reported in House] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2885


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            October 27, 1999

  Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Governmental 
                                Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
 To provide uniform safeguards for the confidentiality of information 
   acquired for exclusively statistical purposes, and to improve the 
 efficiency and quality of Federal statistics and Federal statistical 
  programs by permitting limited sharing of records among designated 
       agencies for statistical purposes under strong safeguards.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Statistical Efficiency Act of 
1999''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    As used in this Act:
            (1) The term ``agency'' means any entity that falls within 
        the definition of the term ``executive agency'' as defined in 
        section 102 of title 31, United States Code, or ``agency'', as 
        defined in section 3502 of title 44, United States Code.
            (2) The term ``agent'' means a person who--
                    (A) is designated by a Statistical Data Center (as 
                designated in section 3) to perform exclusively 
                statistical activities authorized by law under the 
                supervision or control of an officer or employee of 
                that Statistical Data Center; and
                    (B) has agreed in writing to comply with all 
                provisions of law that affect information acquired by 
                that Statistical Data Center.
            (3) The term ``identifiable form'' means any representation 
        of information that permits information concerning individual 
        subjects to be reasonably inferred by either direct or indirect 
        means.
            (4) The term ``nonstatistical purpose'' means any purpose 
        that is not a statistical purpose, and includes any 
        administrative, regulatory, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or 
        other purpose that affects the rights, privileges, or benefits 
        of a particular identifiable respondent.
            (5) The term ``respondent'' means a person who, or 
        organization that, is requested or required to supply 
        information to an agency, is the subject of information 
        requested or required to be supplied to an agency, or who 
        provides that information to an agency.
            (6) The term ``statistical activities''--
                    (A) means the collection, compilation, processing, 
                or analysis of data for the purpose of describing or 
                making estimates concerning the whole, or relevant 
                groups or components within, the economy, society, or 
                natural environment; and
                    (B) includes the development of methods or 
                resources that support those activities, such as 
                measurement methods, models, statistical 
                classifications, or sampling frames.
            (7) The term ``statistical purpose''--
                    (A) means the description, estimation, or analysis 
                of the characteristics of groups without regard to the 
                identities of individuals or organizations that 
                comprise such groups; and
                    (B) includes the development, implementation, or 
                maintenance of methods, technical or administrative 
                procedures, or information resources that support such 
                purposes.

SEC. 3. DESIGNATION OF STATISTICAL DATA CENTERS.

    (a) In General.--Each of the following is hereby designated as a 
Statistical Data Center:
            (1) The Bureau of Economic Analysis in the Department of 
        Commerce.
            (2) The Bureau of the Census in the Department of Commerce.
            (3) The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of 
        Labor.
            (4) The National Agricultural Statistics Service in the 
        Department of Agriculture.
            (5) The National Center for Education Statistics in the 
        Department of Education.
            (6) The National Center for Health Statistics in the 
        Department of Health and Human Services.
            (7) The Energy Consumption Division of the Energy 
        Information Administration in the Department of Energy.
            (8) The Division of Science Resources Studies in the 
        National Science Foundation.
    (b) Designation.--In the case of a reorganization that eliminates, 
or substantially alters the mission or functions of, an agency or 
agency component listed in subsection (a), the Director of the Office 
of Management and Budget, after consultation with the head of the 
agency proposing the reorganization, may designate an agency or agency 
component that shall serve as a successor Statistical Data Center under 
the terms of this Act, if the Director determines that--
            (1) the primary activities of the proposed Statistical Data 
        Center are statistical activities specifically authorized by 
        law;
            (2) the proposed Statistical Data Center would participate 
        in data sharing activities that significantly improve Federal 
        statistical programs or products;
            (3) the proposed Statistical Data Center has demonstrated 
        its capability to protect the individual confidentiality of any 
        shared data; and
            (4) the laws that apply to the proposed Statistical Data 
        Center are not inconsistent with this Act.
    (c) Notice and Comment.--The head of an agency seeking designation 
as a successor Statistical Data Center under this section shall, after 
consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, 
provide public notice and an opportunity to comment on the consequences 
of such designation and on those determinations upon which the 
designation is proposed to be based.
    (d) Prohibition Against Increase in Number of Centers.--No action 
taken under this section shall increase the number of Statistical Data 
Centers authorized by this Act.

SEC. 4. STATISTICAL DATA CENTER RESPONSIBILITIES.

    The Statistical Data Centers designated in section 3 shall--
            (1) identify opportunities to eliminate duplication and 
        otherwise reduce reporting burden and cost imposed on the 
        public by sharing information for exclusively statistical 
        purposes;
            (2) enter into joint statistical projects to improve the 
        quality and reduce the cost of statistical programs;
            (3) safeguard the confidentiality of individually 
        identifiable information acquired for statistical purposes by 
        assuring its physical security and by controlling access to, 
        and uses made of, such information; and
            (4) respect the rights and privileges of the public by 
        observing and promoting fair information practices.

SEC. 5. LIMITATIONS ON USE AND DISCLOSURE OF DATA AND INFORMATION BY 
              STATISTICAL DATA CENTERS.

    (a) Use of Statistical Data or Information.--Data or information 
acquired by a Statistical Data Center for exclusively statistical 
purposes shall be used by the Center only for statistical purposes.
    (b) Disclosure of Statistical Data or Information.--Data or 
information acquired for exclusively statistical purposes shall not be 
disclosed in identifiable form, for any purpose other than a 
statistical purpose, without the informed consent of the respondent.
    (c) Rule for Use of Data or Information for Nonstatistical 
Purposes.--A Statistical Data Center shall clearly distinguish any data 
or information collected for nonstatistical purposes (as authorized by 
law) by the Statistical Data Center by a rule that provides that the 
respondent supplying the data or information is fully informed, before 
the data or information is collected, that the data or information will 
be used for nonstatistical purposes.

SEC. 6. DISCLOSURE OF DATA OR INFORMATION BY AGENCIES TO STATISTICAL 
              DATA CENTERS.

    (a) Agencies That May Disclose Data or Information to a Statistical 
Data Center.--Subject to subsection (b), any Federal agency may 
disclose data or information to one or more Statistical Data Centers 
for exclusively statistical purposes.
    (b) Limitations on Disclosure.--Data or information may be 
disclosed by an agency to one or more Statistical Data Centers under 
subsection (a) only if--
            (1) the data or information are to be used exclusively for 
        statistical purposes by the Statistical Data Center or Centers;
            (2) the disclosure of, and proposed use of, the data or 
        information by the Statistical Data Center is not inconsistent 
        with any provisions of law or Executive order that explicitly 
        limit the statistical purposes for which such data or 
        information may be used;
            (3) the disclosure is not prohibited by law or Executive 
        order in the interest of national security;
            (4) the disclosure is made under the terms of a written 
        agreement between the Statistical Data Center or Centers and 
        the agency supplying the data or information that specifies--
                    (A) the data or information to be disclosed;
                    (B) the purposes for which the data or information 
                are to be used; and
                    (C) appropriate security procedures to safeguard 
                the confidentiality of the data or information; and
            (5) the data or information is not disclosed by that Center 
        in identifiable form (except in a case in which the data or 
        information was collected directly by a party to the agreement 
        referred to in subsection (b)(4), and the agreement specifies 
        that the data or information may be so disclosed to another 
        party to the agreement for exclusively statistical purposes).
    (c) Notice.--Whenever a written agreement authorized under 
subsection (b)(4) concerns data that respondents were required by law 
to report and the agreement contains terms that could not reasonably 
have been anticipated by respondents who provided the data that will be 
disclosed, or upon the initiative of any party to such an agreement, or 
whenever ordered by the Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget, the terms of such agreement shall be described in a public 
notice issued by the agency that intends to disclose the data. Such 
notice shall allow a minimum of 60 days for public comment before such 
agreement shall take effect. The Director shall be fully apprised of 
any issues raised by the public and may suspend the effect of such an 
agreement to permit modifications responsive to public comments.
    (d) Applicability of Other Laws.--(1) The disclosure of data or 
information by an agency to a Statistical Data Center under this 
section shall in no way alter the responsibility of that agency under 
other statutes (including the Freedom of Information Act and the 
Privacy Act) with respect to the disclosure or withholding of such 
information by that agency.
    (2) If data or information obtained by an agency is disclosed to 
another agency pursuant to this section, all provisions of law 
(including penalties) that relate to the unlawful disclosure of the 
data or information apply to the officers, employees, or agents of the 
agency to which the data or information is disclosed to the same extent 
and in the same manner as the provisions apply to the officers and 
employees of the agency which originally obtained the information.
    (3) The officers, employees, and agents of the agency to which the 
data or information is disclosed, in addition, shall be subject to the 
same provisions of law, including penalties, relating to the unlawful 
disclosure of information that would apply to officers and employees of 
that agency, if the information had been collected directly by that 
agency.

SEC. 7. COORDINATION AND OVERSIGHT BY OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET.

    (a) In General.--The Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget shall coordinate and oversee the confidentiality and disclosure 
policies established by this Act.
    (b) Report of Disclosure Agreements.--(1) The head of a Statistical 
Data Center shall report to the Office of Management and Budget--
            (A) each disclosure agreement entered into pursuant to 
        section 6(b)(4);
            (B) the results of any review of information security 
        undertaken at the request of the Office of Management and 
        Budget; and
            (C) the results of any similar review undertaken on the 
        initiative of the Statistical Data Center or an agency 
        disclosing data or information to a Statistical Data Center.
    (2) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall 
include a summary of all reports submitted to the Director under this 
subsection and any actions taken by the Director to advance the 
purposes of this Act in the annual report to the Congress on 
statistical programs submitted in accordance with section 3504(e)(2) of 
title 44, United States Code.
    (c) Review and Approval of Rules.--The Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget shall review and approve any rules proposed 
pursuant to this Act for consistency with this Act and chapter 35 of 
title 44, United States Code.

SEC. 8. IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS.

    (a) In General.--Subject to subsections (b) and (c), the Director 
of the Office of Management and Budget, or the head of a Statistical 
Data Center or of an agency providing information to a Center, may 
promulgate such rules as may be necessary to implement this Act.
    (b) Consistency.--The Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget shall promulgate rules or provide such other guidance as may be 
needed to ensure consistent interpretation of this Act by the affected 
agencies.
    (c) Agency Rules.--Rules governing disclosures of information 
authorized by this Act shall be promulgated by the agency that 
originally collected the information, subject to the review and 
approval required under this Act.

SEC. 9. EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS.

    (a) Title 44 U.S.C.--This Act, including the amendments made by 
this Act, does not diminish the authority under section 3510 of title 
44, United States Code, of the Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget to direct, and of an agency to make, disclosures that are not 
inconsistent with any applicable law.
    (b) Exemption From Freedom of Information Act.--Data or information 
acquired for exclusively statistical purposes as provided in section 5 
is exempt from mandatory disclosure under section 552 of title 5, 
United States Code, pursuant to section 552(b)(3) of such title.
    (c) Preemption of State Law.--Nothing in this Act shall preempt 
applicable State law regarding the confidentiality of data collected by 
the States.

SEC. 10. CONFORMING AND PROPOSED CHANGES IN LAW.

    (a) Department of Commerce.--(1) Section 1 of the Act of January 
27, 1938 (15 U.S.C 176a) is amended by striking ``The'' and inserting 
``Except as provided in the Statistical Efficiency Act of 1999, the''.
    (2)(A) Chapter 10 of title 13, United States Code, is amended by 
adding after section 401 the following:
``Sec. 402. Exchange of census information with Statistical Data 
              Centers
    ``The Bureau of the Census is authorized to provide data collected 
under this title to Statistical Data Centers named in the Statistical 
Efficiency Act of 1999, or their successors designated under the terms 

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