The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) & the Privacy Act

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is responsible for providing government-wide policy leadership and for overseeing the management of Federal information resources including paperwork reduction, privacy and security.

The PRA and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended are two separate laws for different issues with separate requirements, but they are meant to work together. The PRA deals with approval to collect the information and the Privacy Act deals with maintaining and protecting the information.

The PRA was designed to ensure the greatest possible public benefit from and maximize the utility of information created, collected, maintained, used, shared and disseminated by or for the Federal Government and to improve the quality and use of Federal information to strengthen decision-making, accountability, and openness in Government and society. The PRA applies to collections of information using identical questions posed to, or reporting or recordkeeping requirements imposed on ten or move persons.

The Privacy Act places restrictions on the Federal Government’s collection, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information. It ensures that personal information about individuals collected is limited to that which is legally authorized and necessary and is maintained in a manner which precludes unwarranted intrusions upon individual privacy.

The Privacy Act requires federal agencies to publish a System of Records Notice (SORN) in the Federal Register for each system of records that an agency maintains. The notice ensures that privacy considerations have been addressed in implementing the system. For more information on SORNs see System of Records Notice (SORNs) process.