\ dhsfr \ DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY - FEDERAL REGISTER PUBLICATIONS \ DHS Federal Register Publications 2003 \ FEDERAL REGISTER INTERIM REGULATIONS - 2003 \ Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Procedures [68 FR 4056] [DHS 3-03]
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Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Procedures [68 FR 4056] [DHS 3-03]
FEDERAL REGISTER CITE:
68 FR 4056
DATE OF PUBLICATION:
January 27, 2003
BILLING CODE: 4410-10
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Office of the Secretary
6 CFR Chapter I and Part 5
Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Procedures
Office of the Secretary, Homeland Security.
Interim final rule.
This interim final rule establishes procedures for the public to obtain information from the Office of the Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.
This interim final rule is effective January 27, 2003. Written comments may be submitted by February 26, 2003.
Submit written comments (preferably an original and three copies) to Associate General Counsel (General Law), Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
D.E. Ogden, (202) 612-1951, not a toll free call.
On November 25, 2002, the President signed into law the Homeland Security Act (Pub. L. 107-296), which created the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Pursuant to the provisions of the Act, the new Department came into existence on January 24, 2003.
In order to establish procedures to facilitate public interaction with the DHS Office of the Secretary, DHS is issuing an initial series of proposed and interim final regulations.
II. The Interim Final Rule
This interim final rule establishes procedures for the DHS Office of the Secretary necessary to implement the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a). Except to the extent a Department component has adopted separate guidance under FOIA or the Privacy Act, the provisions of this subpart shall to apply each component of the Department.
The Freedom of Information Act provides for the full disclosure of agency records and information to the public unless that information is exempted under clearly delineated statutory language. The Privacy Act serves to safeguard public interest in informational privacy by delineating the duties and responsibilities of federal agencies that collect, store, and disseminate personal information about individuals. The procedures established here ensure that the Department of Homeland Security fully satisfies it
s responsibility to the public to disclose departmental information while simultaneously safeguarding individual privacy.
The Privacy Act serves to balance the government's need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy stemming from federal agencies' collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information about them. Agencies are required to issue regulations outlining the agency's rules and procedures for implementation of the Privacy Act and its provisions in the agency. This includes procedures on how individuals may
request access to information about themselves, request amendment or correction of those records, and request an accounting of disclosures of their records by the Department.
III. Procedural Requirements
Because the DHS came into existence on January 24, 2003, it is necessary to promptly establish procedures to facilitate the interaction of the public with the Department. Furthermore, this Interim Final Rule generally parallels the procedures currently used by other agencies to implement the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. Accordingly the Department has determined that notice and public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary and contrary to the public interest pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B
). For the same reasons, the Department has determined that this interim rule should be issued without a delayed effective date pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 (d)(3).
Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. Chapter 6) do not apply. It has been determined that this rulemaking is not a significant regulatory action for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, a regulatory impact analysis is not required.
List of Subjects in 6 CFR Part 5
Classified information, Freedom of information, Privacy.
Authority and Issuance
For the reasons set forth above, the Department of Homeland Security establishes 6 CFR Chapter I in new Title 6--Homeland Security, consisting at this time of part 5 to read as set forth below.
Title 6--Homeland Security
CHAPTER I--DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
PART 5--DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS AND INFORMATION
Subpart A--Freedom of Information Act
Public reading rooms.
Requirements for making requests.
Responsibility for responding to requests.
Timing of responses to requests.
Responses to requests.
Preservation of records.
Other rights and services.
Subpart B--Privacy Act
Requests for access to records.
Responsibility for responding to requests for access to records.
Responses to requests for access to records.
Requests for amendment or correction of records.
Requests for an accounting of record disclosures.
Preservation of records.
Notice of court-ordered and emergency disclosures.
Security of systems of records.
Contracts for the operation of record systems.
Use and collection of social security numbers.
Standards of conduct for administration of the Privacy Act.
Sanctions and penalties.5.36 Other rights and services.
Appendix A to Part 5--FOIA/Privacy Act Offices of the Department of Homeland Security
Appendix B to Part 5--Public Reading Rooms of the Department of Homeland Security
Pub. L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135; (6 U.S.C. 101 et seq.); 5 U.S.C. 301. Subpart A also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552. Subpart B also issued under 5 U.S.C. 552a.
Subpart A--Freedom of Information Act
§ 5.1 General provisions.
(a)(1) This subpart A contains the rules that the Department of Homeland Security (Department) follows in processing requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552). These rules should be read together with the FOIA, which provides additional information about access to records maintained by the Department. Requests made by individuals for records about themselves under the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), which are processed under subpart B of this part, are processed un
der this subpart also. Information routinely provided to the public as part of a regular Department activity (for example, press releases issued by the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs may be provided to the public without following this subpart).
(2) The provisions established by this subpart shall apply to all Department components that are transferred to the Department. Except to the extent a Department component has adopted separate guidance under FOIA, the provisions of this subpart shall apply to each component of the Department. Departmental components may issue their own guidance under this subpart pursuant to approval by the Department.
(b) As used in this subpart, component means each separate bureau, office, board, division, commission, service, or administration of the Department.
§ 5.2 Public reading rooms.
(a) Records that are required to be maintained by the Department in a public reading room will be made available electronically at www.dhs.gov/foia. Each Department component will be responsible for determining which of the records it generates are required to be made available and to make those records available either in its own reading room or in the Department's central reading room. Each component shall maintain and make available for public inspection and copying a current subject-matter index of its
reading room records. Each index shall be updated regularly, at least quarterly, with respect to newly included records.
(b) The Department components maintain public reading rooms or areas at the locations listed below:
(1) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Library, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737-1232;
(2) Plum Island Animal Disease Center, the APHIS address above or, USDA-ARS, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Building 1, Room 2248, Beltsville, MD 20705-5128;
(3) Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (A former office of the Bureau of Industry and Security) does not maintain a conventional public reading room. Records that are required to be in the public reading room are available electronically at http://www.bis.doc.gov/FOIA/Default.htm;
(4) FIRESTAT (formerly the Integrated Hazard Information System of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NOAA Public Reference Facility, 1305 East-West Highway (SSMC4), Room 8627, Silver Spring, MD 20910;
(5) National Communication Service (a former component of the Defense Information Systems Agency) does not maintain a conventional public reading room. Records that are required to be in the public reading room are available electronically at http://disa.mil/gc/foia/foia.html;
(6) The address for each component and program listed below is: U.S. Department of Energy; 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585:
(i) Energy Assurance Office;
(ii) Environmental Measurements Laboratory;
(iii) Nuclear Incident Response Team;
(iv) The chemical and biological national security and supporting programs and activities of the non-proliferation and verification research and development program;
(v) The life sciences activities related to microbial pathogens of Biological and Environmental Research Program;
(vi) The nuclear smuggling programs and activities within the proliferation detection program of the non-proliferation and verification research and development program;
(vii) The nuclear assessment program and activities of the assessment, detection, and cooperation program of the international materials protection and cooperation program, and the advanced scientific computing research program and activities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; and
(viii) The National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center;
(7) The address for each component and program listed below is: Freedom of Information Act Officer at: Department of Health and Human Services, Freedom of Information Officer, Room 645-F, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20201:
(i) Metropolitan Medical Response System;
(ii) National Disaster Medical System;
(8) Office of Emergency Preparedness please contact the Strategic National Stockpile Centers for Disease Control and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1600 Clifton Road, NE., Room 4103, Building 1, Atlanta, GA 30333;
(9) Immigration and Naturalization Service, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., 2nd Floor, ULLICO Building, Washington, DC 20536;
(10) For the National Infrastructure Protection Center, the National Domestic Preparedness Office, and the Domestic Emergency Support Team: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20535-0001;
(11) Office of Domestic Preparedness, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, 810 7th Street, NW., Room 5430, Washington, DC 20531;
(12) Visa Office, Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20520;
(13) Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591;
(14) Transportation Security Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590;
(15) United States Coast Guard Headquarters, 2100 Second Street, SW., Washington, DC 20593-0001 (for district offices, consult your phone book);
(16) The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center does not maintain a conventional public reading room. Records that are required to be in the public reading room are available electronically at http://www.fletc.gov/irm/foia/readingroom.htm;
(17) U.S. Customs Service, Freedom of Information Request, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Mint Annex, Washington, DC 20229-0001 (for a list of field office reading room locations please consult 19 CFR 103.1);
(18) U.S. Secret Service, Main Treasury, Freedom of Information Request, 950 H Street, NW., Suite 3000, Washington, DC;
(19) Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Center Plaza, 500 C Street, SW., Room 840, Washington, DC 20472 (for regional offices, consult your phone book);
(20) For the Federal Computer Incident Response Center and the Federal Protective Service: Central Office, GSA Headquarters, 1800 F Street, NW (CAI), Washington, DC 20405 (for regional offices, consult the phone book);
(c) Components shall also make reading room records created by the Department on or after November 1, 1996, available electronically via the component web-site. This includes each component's index of its reading room records, which will indicate which records are available electronically.
§ 5.3 Requirements for making requests.
How made and addressed
. You may make a request for records of the Department by writing directly to the Department component that maintains those records. For additional information about the FOIA, you may refer directly to the statute. If you are making a request for records about yourself, see § 5.21(d) for additional requirements. If you are making a request for records about another individual, either a written authorization signed by that individual permitting disclosure of those records to you or proof that that individual
is deceased (for example, a copy of a death certificate or an obituary) must be submitted. Your request should be sent to the component's FOIA office at the address listed in appendix A to part 5. In most cases, your FOIA request should be sent to a component's central FOIA office. (The functions of each component are summarized elsewhere in this title and in the description of the Department and its components in the “United States Government Manual,” which is issued annually and is available in most libr
aries, as well as for sale from the Government Printing Office's Superintendent of Documents. This manual also can be accessed electronically at the Government Printing Office's World Wide Web site (which can be found at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs).) If you cannot determine where within the Department to send your request, you may send it to the Departmental Disclosure Officer, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528. That office will forward your request to the component(s) it believes
most likely to have the records that you want. Your request will be considered received as of the date it is received by the proper component's FOIA office. For the quickest possible handling, you should mark both your request letter and the envelope “Freedom of Information Act Request.”
Description of records sought
. You must describe the records that you seek in enough detail to enable Department personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. Whenever possible, your request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter of the record. If known, you should include any file designations or descriptions for the records that you want. As a general rule, the more specific you are about the records or type of records that yo
u want, the more likely the Department will be able to locate those records in response to your request. If a component determines that your request does not reasonably describe records, it shall tell you either what additional information is needed or why your request is otherwise insufficient. The component also shall give you an opportunity to discuss your request so that you may modify it to meet the requirements of this section. If your request does not reasonably describe the records you seek, the age
ncy's response to your request may be delayed.
Agreement to pay fees
. If you make a FOIA request, it shall be considered a firm commitment by you to pay all applicable fees charged under § 5.11 up to $ 25.00, unless you seek a waiver of fees. In making your FOIA request, please indicate whether you are willing to pay for the request or desire a waiver. The component responsible for responding to your request ordinarily will confirm this commitment in an acknowledgement letter. When making a request, you may specify a willingness to pay a greater or lesser amount. If you are
seeking a waiver of fees you must provide a justification for your fee waiver request in accordance with the requirements of § 5.11(k). If your request for a fee waiver is denied, the component will notify you of that decision and will request an agreement from you to pay fees up to $25, or a greater or lesser amount specified by you. Your request shall not be considered received and further work shall not be done on it until you agree to pay fees. If you do not provide a firm commitment to pay the anticip
ated fee within the time period specified by the component, the request will be administratively closed.
§ 5.4 Responsibility for responding to requests.
. Except as stated in paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) of this section, the component that first receives a request for a record and has possession of that record is the component responsible for responding to the request. In determining which records are responsive to a request, a component ordinarily will include only records in its possession as of the date the component begins its search for them. If any other date is used, the component shall inform the requester of that date.
Authority to grant or deny requests
. The head of a component, or the component head's designee, is authorized to grant or deny any request for a record of that component.
Consultations and referrals
. When a component receives a request for a record in its possession, it shall determine whether another component, or another agency of the Federal Government, is better able to determine whether the record is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA and, if so, whether it should be disclosed as a matter of administrative discretion. If the receiving component determines that it is best able to process the record in response to the request, then it shall do so. If the receiving component determines that it is
not best able to process the record, then it shall either:
(1) Respond to the request regarding that record, after consulting with the component or agency best able to determine whether to disclose it and with any other component or agency that has a substantial interest in it; or
(2) Refer the responsibility for responding to the request regarding that record to the component best able to determine whether to disclose it, or to another agency that originated the record (but only if that agency is subject to the FOIA). Ordinarily, the component or agency that originated a record will be presumed to be best able to determine whether to disclose it.
Law enforcement information
. Whenever a request is made for a record containing information that relates to an investigation of a possible violation of law and was originated by another component or agency, the receiving component shall either refer the responsibility for responding to the request regarding that information to that other component or agency or consult with that other component or agency.
. Whenever a request is made for a record containing information that has been classified, or may be appropriate for classification, by another component or agency under Executive Order 12958 or any other executive order concerning the classification of records, the receiving component shall refer the responsibility for responding to the request regarding that information to the component or agency that classified the information, or which should consider the information for classification, or which has the
primary interest in it, as appropriate. Whenever a record contains information that has been derivatively classified by a component because it contains information classified by another component or agency, the component shall refer the responsibility for responding to the request regarding that information to the component or agency that classified the underlying information.
Notice of referral
. Whenever a component refers all or any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another component or agency, it ordinarily shall notify the requester of the referral and inform the requester of the name of each component or agency to which the request has been referred and of the part of the request that has been referred.
Timing of responses to consultations and referrals
. All consultations and referrals will be handled according to the date the FOIA request initially was received by the first component or agency, not any later date.
Agreements regarding consultations and referrals
. Components may make agreements with other components or agencies to eliminate the need for consultations or referrals for particular types of records.
§ 5.5 Timing of responses to requests.
. Components ordinarily shall respond to requests according to their order of receipt.
. (1) A component may use two or more processing tracks by distinguishing between simple and more complex requests based on the amount of work and/or time needed to process the request, including through limits based on the number of pages involved. If a component does so, it shall advise requesters in its slower track(s) of the limits of its faster track(s).
(2) A component using multitrack processing may provide requesters in its slower track(s) with an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests in order to qualify for faster processing within the specified limits of the component's faster track(s). A component doing so will contact the requester either by telephone or by letter, whichever is more efficient in each case.
. (1) Where the statutory time limits for processing a request cannot be met because of “unusual circumstances,” as defined in the FOIA, and the component determines to extend the time limits on that basis, the component shall as soon as practicable notify the requester in writing of the unusual circumstances and of the date by which processing of the request can be expected to be completed. Where the extension is for more than ten working days, the component shall provide the requester with an opportunity
either to modify the request so that it may be processed within the time limits or to arrange an alternative time period with the component for processing the request or a modified request.
(2) Where a component reasonably believes that multiple requests submitted by a requester, or by a group of requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and the requests involve clearly related matters, they may be aggregated. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.
. (1) Requests and appeals will be taken out of order and given expedited treatment whenever it is determined that they involve:
(i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;
(ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged federal government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information.
(2) A request for expedited processing may be made at the time of the initial request for records or at any later time. A request for expedited processing must be submitted to the component that maintains the record requested. Requests based on the categories in paragraphs (d)(1)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this section must be submitted to the component that maintains the records requested.
(3) A requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct to the best of that person's knowledge and belief, explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing. For example, a requester within the category in paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section, if not a full-time member of the news media, must establish that he or she is a person whose main professional activity or occupation is information dissemination, though it need not be his or her sole
occupation. A requester within the category in paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section also must establish a particular urgency to inform the public about the government activity involved in the request, beyond the public's right to know about government activity generally. The formality of certification may be waived as a matter of administrative discretion.
(4) Within ten calendar days of its receipt of a request for expedited processing, the proper component shall decide whether to grant it and shall notify the requester of the decision. If a request for expedited treatment is granted, the request shall be given priority and shall be processed as soon as practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, any appeal of that decision shall be acted on expeditiously.