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Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988

Vida Scarpello


This Act's purpose is to regulate the use of computer matching by federal agencies and for use of federal records (subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 ), for matching state and local government records. Matching refers to several different computer‐assisted techniques used in identifying similarities and differences between records. It is primarily used to locate an individual, verify eligibility for federal benefit programs, and recoup payment or delinquent debts under such programs. Not covered are matches performed for statistical research, tax, law enforcement, and certain other purposes. Basically, matching is intended as a tool against fraud. This law was passed because disclosure restrictions of the 1974 Privacy Act have been interpreted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and other federal agencies as permitting disclosures necessary to support computer matching. Thus, the privacy law offered little protection to individual subjects of computer matching. Accordingly, the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act was passed to address due process, administrative controls, and cost‐effectiveness issues. Section 2(D)(p) of the Act prohibits adverse action against individuals by matching programs, until the relevant agency has independently verified the accuracy of the information. Section 4(u)(1) establishes a data integrity board within each agency ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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