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F. Sources of Information

Data is derived from existing personnel and pay records. IV. Evaluation

Clearly, personnel and payroll records must be maintained by an organization with 1,100 employees. One objection which may be raised to the Commission system is the apparent lack of any standard operating procedures for assuring that data is not available to persons other than those whose access to it is required.

Agency Response

The Federal Power Commission responses of December 23, 1970, and January 19, 1971, to the subcommittee's December 14, 1970, request for replies to the standard questionnaire (see inside back cover) appear below.

FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION, Washington, D.C. December 23, 1970.

Senator SAM J. ERVIN, Jr.,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S.
Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SENATOR ERVIN: This is to acknowledge your letter of December 14, 1970 describing your study of Government computer data banks, privacy, and constitutional rights.

Modern technology for electronic data processing offers exciting prospects of enabling government regulatory programs, particularly in the field of economic regulation, to achieve a degree of responsiveness, efficiency, and hence effectiveness which we couldn't even imagine only a few years ago. At the same time, without early attention to the potential impact of that technology upon personal and other private rights which we prize so highly, rapidly expanding use of computer techniques could produce highly undesirable results.

I have furnished copies of your letter to each of my colleagues on the Federal Power Commission and to the heads of each of the staff units. I shall respond with this agency's answers to the questions in your letter early in January.

Yours truly,


FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION, Washington, D.C., January 19, 1971.

Hon. SAM J. ERVIN, Jr.,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights,
Committee on the Judiciary,

U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your letter of December 14, 1970, requesting information on Government computer data banks, privacy, and constitutional rights. After a thorough check we can assure you that this Commission does not keep tab of the activities of individuals through a large computer system for the purpose of surveillance. Our jurisdiction is in the field of economic regulation.

The only computer bank system that the Federal Power Commission maintains is solely for the purpose of payroll and personnel computer files.

The attachment contains answers to your nineteen questions regarding the amount and type of information in our personnel computer bank. Sincerely,




(1) The payroll and personnel computer files contain data concerning approximately 1100 employees of the Commission. It includes information concerning grade, classification series, gross pay, deductions, addresses, allotments to saving institutions, and other similar information.

(2) The data is maintained under authority of the Natural Gas and Federal Power Acts.

(3) State officials and private individuals do not have access to these data. (4) These data are maintained on punched cards and can accordingly be accessed by machine equipment.

(5) It is planned to redesign the system to utilize magnetic tape processing. (6) The payroll system is used biweekly for payment of employees. The associated personnel files are used to prepare reports for the Civil Service Commission and internal management. The system is used chiefly by the Office of the Comptroller and the Office of Personnel Programs within the Commission. Listings are also provided other bureaus or offices within the Commission concerning their own personnel.

(7) The advantages of this system are: (1) increased control of funds (2) improved statistics concerning personnel and (3) improved timeliness. Limited correlation of data is possible under the existing system.

(8) None. The Commission does not maintain any data of a personal nature in its ADP systems.

(9) The Commission has not established specific written guidelines, but it does restrict access to payroll and personnel data to a few agency officials. Data is provided outside the agency only to the Civil Service Commission; no other agencies or private entities have access to these data.

(10-A) No. Employees are not notified when these statistics are entered into the data bank.

(B) No. However, an employee may inquire about the data and will be informed verbally concerning his pay or personnel classification status. He may review the existing records from which the computer data is derived.

(11) The recorded data is available to those who process it and the responsible officials in the Office of Personnel Programs or the Office of the Comptroller. Personnel listings are also available to other bureaus and offices for their own personnel.

(12) No. A record is not maintained of each inspection. (13) The data is collected from existing records.

(14) The Comptroller and the Director of Personnel are responsible for the accuracy of the data maintained on payroll and personnel. Routine procedures exist to compare the data to existing records to determine any errors.

(15) The Civil Service Commission receive periodic reports with data derived from our computer files.

(16) State agencies do not have any access to the computerized payroll or personnel files. The Federal Power Commission staff is not aware of any interfacing between its data and the Civil Service Commission's data, the only other agency with access to this information.

(17) Security is provided by a) security areas i.e. locked rooms and b) vigilance of employees who process the data. Improper use is limited by restricting the number of employees who process the data.

(18) The Commission has not recently established nor plans to establish any new data banks related to individuals. It, therefore, has not made any formal or informal arrangements with Congressional Committees.

(19-A) The only data programs discussed before Congressional Committees relate to information about regulated companies. Data systems concerning individuals have not been discussed.

(B) Congressional Committees have neither specifically approved nor disapproved any data programs concerning individuals.

(C) Not applicable.


The Federal Power Commission submitted no attachments with its responses.


Subcommittee Analysis

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system indicated in its response that it does not maintain any data banks on individuals, except personnel records; therefore, a detailed Subcommittee Analysis is not included.

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The Federal Reserve Board response of November 10, 1971 is reproduced below.


Hon. SAM J. ERVIN, Jr.,

Washington, D.C., November 10, 1971.

Chairman, Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights,
Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Your letter and questionnaire of October 26 have been carefully reviewed. The Federal Reserve Board maintains no data banks containing personal information, except data it retains on its own personnel. Moreover, we have no plans to begin compiling data on individuals outside our workforce.

I hope the foregoing helps meet your needs in assessing Federal data collection programs.

Sincerely yours,



The Federal Reserve Board submitted no attachments with its response.


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