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Privacy Act Requests

  • What Is The Privacy Act Of 1974?

    The Privacy Act allows U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted aliens to request copies of CFTC records that are about themselves and are maintained in a “system of records,” as defined in the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act also requires the CFTC to maintain accurate, current records, and to notify the public of all of the systems of records it creates by publishing system of records notices (SORNs) in the Federal Register. Moreover, the Privacy Act imposes other obligations on the CFTC, for example, requiring the CFTC to use administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect personal information contained in systems of records.

    May I Access Records Covered By The Privacy Act?

    Yes, you can ask the CFTC for access to records about yourself or individuals for whom you may serve as an authorized representative or legal guardian. You can also ask the CFTC to correct records that are inaccurate, incomplete, untimely, or irrelevant. However, when a system is exempt from certain sections of the Privacy Act, there may be limitations on the disclosure or amendment of records. Systems are exempt, for example, if disclosure of the records may compromise the effectiveness of the CFTC’s regulatory or enforcement program, or reveal the identity of a confidential source, as stated further below and in CFTC rule Part 146.12, 17 C.F.R. § 146.12.

    How Is My Information Protected?

    The Privacy Act establishes safeguards for the protection of records the CFTC collects and maintains on U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted aliens. Records are protected from unauthorized access and improper use through administrative, technical and physical security measures. Technical security measures include restrictions on computer access to authorized individuals, required use of strong passwords that are frequently changed, use of encryption for certain data types and transfers, and regular review of security procedures and best practices to enhance security.

    How Do I File A Privacy Act Request?

    To determine whether a system of records contains information about you, to access a record about yourself (or someone else that you serve as an authorized representative or legal guardian for) in a given system of records, or to request an amendment to the contents of a particular record, you may mail or personally deliver a written and signed inquiry to:

    FOI, Privacy and Sunshine Acts Compliance Staff
    Office of the General Counsel
    Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Three Lafayette Centre
    1155 21st Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20581

    Your request must:

    • Be in writing and signed by individual making the request;
    • Include the full name (including middle name) of the individual seeking the information or record;
    • Include the home address and telephone number, and business addresses and telephone number of the individual seeking the information or record; and
    • If the individual making the request is or has ever been registered with the CFTC or its predecessor agency (the Commodity Exchange Commission), or associated as a partner, officer, director, or 10 percent shareholder with a firm so registered, the request must state in what capacity the individual is or was registered.

    The CFTC also requires you to provide reasonable identification with your request to insure that information and records are disclosed only to the proper person. Valid methods of personal identification include:

    • A photocopy of two pieces of identification bearing your name and signature, one of which must bear your current home or business address; or
    • In-person appearance at any CFTC office, during regular working hours, as well as:
      • One piece of identification containing your photograph and signature (e.g., a driver’s license or passport); or
      • Two pieces of identification bearing your name and signature, one of which bears your current home or business address; or
    • Other proof of identity that the CFTC deems satisfactory based on the circumstances of the particular request.

    Please also include:

    • The title and identifying number for the system of records that you believe contains information about you as the title and number appear in system of records notice in the Federal Register. For your convenience, the CFTC has summarized the holdings of its systems of records. The identifying number appears to the left of the name of each system and if a system is exempt from access, amendment and other provisions of the Privacy Act, it is marked as “exempted”;
    • Additional identifying information (if any) specified in the section titled “Retrievability” in each CFTC system notice in the Federal Register;
    • A description of the specific information or kind of information you are seeking within the system of records; and
    • A detailed description of any special arrangements concerning the time, place, or form of access that you might request.

    For amendment requests please specify:

    • The nature of the amendment you would like to make, and the justification for the requested change. Please describe the record with as much specificity as you can to facilitate the location of the record among all of those maintained by the CFTC.

    What Would A Sample Privacy Act Request Look Like?

    The following is a sample letter you may want to use to format your Privacy Act request. You will need to provide the information in brackets, as well as any additional information pertinent to the unique context and circumstances of your request.

    [Date]
    FOI, Privacy and Sunshine Acts Compliance Staff
    Office of the General Counsel
    Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Three Lafayette Centre
    1155 21st Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20581
    Re: Privacy Act Request

    Dear FOI, Privacy and Sunshine Acts Compliance Staff:

    This is a request under the Privacy Act.

    I request that a copy of the following documents be provided to me:

    [Identify the documents or information as specifically as possible.]
    These documents are included in [Identify the system of records where you believe the information is located. Please refer to the CFTC’s summaries of the holdings of its systems of records.]

    If you have any questions about processing this request, you may contact me at [telephone number] or [email address].

    Sincerely,
    [Signature]
    [Print name]
    [Address]
    [City, State, Zip Code]
    [Telephone number]
    [Optional: Fax number]
    [Optional: Email address]
    Attachments: [proof of identity as stated above]

    What Happens After I File A Privacy Act Request?

    The CFTC will respond in writing within ten business days of receiving your request. Should a definitive response not be possible, the CFTC will acknowledge receipt and explain the status of your request. If the records are available, the CFTC will notify you in writing of when and where you may access the records. If further arrangements for access are necessary, you will receive information regarding the name, address, and telephone number of the relevant contact at the CFTC.

    If the record is available, you may view a copy of the record at a CFTC office during regular working hours or you can request a copy of the record subject to fees for copying records.

    In the case of a requested amendment, the CFTC will determine whether the record is in fact inaccurate, incomplete, misleading, irrelevant, or not timely, as claimed. If the CFTC finds a need for amendment according to the information you submit, then the CFTC will amend the record in accordance with your request. You will then receive notice that the CFTC has taken the action to amend. Conversely, if the CFTC denies amendment in whole or in part, you will receive notification of this fact.

    Is The CFTC Entitled To Withhold Certain Information?

    The CFTC is entitled to withhold certain information under the Privacy Act if disclosure may compromise the effectiveness of the CFTC’s regulatory or enforcement program, or reveal the identity of a confidential source, as stated in CFTC rule Part 146.12, 17 C.F.R. § 146.12. This includes investigatory materials compiled for law enforcement purposes, or for determining an individual’s suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for employment with the CFTC, or for matters under investigation by the Office of the Inspector General. For more information on statutory exemptions from disclosure, see 15 U.S.C. § 552a(j)-(k).

    In addition to the above considerations, there are other limitations on the disclosure of records. First, if the disclosure involves medical records, the records may only be provided to a physician designated in writing by the individual requesting the records. Furthermore, when a document containing information about the requesting individual also contains information pertaining to another person, that particular information will not be disclosed.

    For More Information See:

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