When an agency establishes a new, or makes changes to, an existing system of records, a notice of the agency’s intent must be published in the Federal Register . This provision of the Act is to prevent the keeping of secret record systems.
The notice describes the system of records and must contain the following information:
- name and location of the system;
- the categories of individuals on whom records are maintained;
- the types of records maintained;
- each routine use;
- retrievability, storage, access controls, retention, and disposition of the records;
- the title and business address of the agency official who is responsible for the system;
- how an individual can be notified if the system contains a record on him/her;
- how an individual can access or amend the record; and
- the categories of sources of records in the system.
The Act requires an agency to publish notice of a proposed routine use for a system of records in the Federal Register at least 30 days prior to the implementation of the new routine use to allow for public comment.