EPIC FOIA Notes #4
April 26, 2005
JUST SAY "9/11" TO OBTAIN SOCIAL
SNAPSHOT [click for full document]
Formerly secret documents obtained by EPIC from the Social Security
Administration reveal that the agency adopted a broad "ad
hoc" policy for disclosing personal information to law enforcement
officials investigating 9/11.
Oversight of law enforcement access to sensitive personal data after
Under the Privacy Act, the Social Security Administration may disclose
personal information to law enforcement officers only in narrowly
defined circumstances. Just days after 9/11, the agency changed
its traditionally strict disclosure policy to allow law enforcement
agencies to obtain personal information merely by stating the
data was sought "in connection" with a 9/11 investigation.
The documents show the policy was still in effect in May 2004.
The new policy undermines the Privacy Act and permits disclosure
of personal information held by a federal agency with little accountability.