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In response to a congressional request, the GAO examined federal agencies' implementation of the Privacy Act of 1974, which protects personal privacy. The GAO specifically examined: (1) the roles of agency Privacy Act officers; and (2) agencies' adherence to the Act's provisions and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines.
The GAO found that: (1) approaches to implementing the Act's regulations varied widely among the agencies; (2) agencies often failed to establish clear lines of responsibility and accountability for the Act's functions; (3) agency Privacy Act officers had limited responsibilities, training, and resources to ensure compliance with the Act; and (4) agencies need to improve adherence to OMB guidelines relating to activities, such as computer matching programs, risk assessments, evaluations, and training.