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Privacy Laws

Several laws have been passed or are in various stages of development in the U.S. that affect consumer privacy. Two of the earliest privacy laws are the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974. These acts allow consumers to make requests for information from government agencies, such as the FBI and the Department of Justice. The Privacy Act allows you to obtain your own records and amend or delete information about you that is inaccurate, irrelevant, outdated, or incomplete. You have the right to sue the agency if it refuses to correct or amend your record, or if it refuses to give you access to it. The FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or state or local government agencies. Each state has its own public access laws. The FOIA requires an agency to decide within ten working days whether to comply with an FOIA request and to inform the person making the request.

Several differences exist between the two acts:


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