OMB gives guidance for agencies to accept records requests digitally

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People will soon be able to request personal records from various federal agencies electronically.

The Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum Thursday giving guidance for agencies to begin accepting digital requests for records protected under the Privacy Act of 1974 — a main tenant of the Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents Act (CASES Act) signed into law in August 2019.

Constituents currently have to send this form through a paper submission, often via mail, to request records from agencies like the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and others.

“Modernizing these processes across the Federal Government is important to facilitating transparency and enabling access to Federal programs through seamless and secure digital service delivery,” the memo reads.

Within a year, agencies must provide a digital service option for people to request records. This includes a remote-identifying and authentication process that limits the collection of personally identifiable information like social security numbers. Agencies should also electronically accept the access and consent forms from individuals requesting records. All of these forms need to be posted on the agency’s website.

Crucially, agencies are responsible for the modernization of their information systems to comply with this guidance.

The memo includes customizable templates for agencies to use.

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CASES Act, digital government, Modernization, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), records
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