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The Privacy Act

The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. §552a

The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, establishes a code of fair information practices that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies. A system of records is a group of records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifier assigned to the individual.

The Privacy Act requires that agencies give the public notice of their systems of records by publication in the Federal Register.  The Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of a record about an individual from a system of records absent the written consent of the individual, unless the disclosure is pursuant to one of twelve statutory exceptions. The Act also provides individuals with a means by which to seek access to and amendment of their records, and sets forth various agency record-keeping requirements.

Requesting a Record under the Privacy Act

Minimum Requirements of a PA Request

  • Your Request must be prepared in writing.
  • Label your Request "Privacy Act Request" on the request , as well as the envelope.
  • Individuals seeking access to records about themselves that are maintained in a PA system of records must sign their request and provide specific identifying data to enable a search for the requested record.  Either have a notarized signature or submit an unsworn declaration that states "I declare under perjury or penalty under the laws of the United States of America  that the foregoing is true and correct."
  • Identify the specific PA system of records notice for which you seek this information (DON (USN and USMC) SORNS).
  • Individuals may authorize the release of all or part of their records to anyone they choose provided they submit a signed authorization to the USNA.  Such authorization must specifically state the records to which the individual may have access.
  • Individuals may be accompanied by anyone they choose when seeking to review their records.  In such instance, the USNA requires the individual to provide a written authorization to allow the record to be discussed in front of the other person.
  • Include requester's full name, complete U.S. postal service mailing address, phone number, and email (if you wish electronic responsive documentation).

First Party Requesters will be Granted Access to their Records Under the Provisions of the PA, Unless:

  •  they did not properly identify the records being sought; did not sign their request; and/or failed to provide sufficient identifying data to locate the requested record(s);
  •  they are seeking access to information in a system of records that is exempt from disclosure in whole or in part under the provisions of the PA;
  •  they are seeking access to information that was compiled in anticipation of a civil action or proceeding [i.e.,(d)(5) applies.] The term “civil action or proceeding” includes quasi-judicial and pre–trial judicial proceedings, as well as formal litigation. However, this does not prohibit access to records compiled or used for purposes other than litigation or to records frequently subject to litigation. The information must have been compiled for the primary purpose of litigation to be withheld under 5 U.S.C. §552a (d)(5); or
  • they are seeking access to information contained in the system that is currently and properly classified [see 5 U.S.C. §552a (k)(1)].

Submit Your Request

You may submit your request by one of the following methods:

  • U.S. Mail: 

Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy 
Attention: Privacy Coordinator 
121 Blake Road 
Annapolis, MD 21402-1300

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