On Marco Island: Independent Reporting, Documenting Government Abuses, Exposing the Syndicate, Historical Records of Crimes Against the Environment

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Politics - Kremlin Style

The Federal Privacy Act prohibits law enforcement agencies from conducting background checks sans a legitimate reason, such as a criminal investigation. Namely, the police can't do a background check for political purposes. As an example, and only an example, a councilperson asking the police chief to look into the background of a citizen that the councilperson did not like and said police chief does it, such would be a crime.

See http://www.usdoj.gov/oip/privstat.htm

The interesting provision of that act is:

(i)(1) Criminal penalties

Any officer or employee of an agency, who by virtue of his employment or official position, has possession of, or access to, agency records which contain individually identifiable information the disclosure of which is prohibited by this section or by rules or regulations established thereunder, and who knowing that disclosure of the specific material is so prohibited, willfully discloses the material in any manner to any person or agency not entitled to receive it, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

(2) Any officer or employee of any agency who willfully maintains a system of records without meeting the notice requirements of subsection (e)(4) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

(3) Any person who knowingly and willfully requests or obtains any record concerning an individual from an agency under false pretenses shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.


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