The Privacy Act is a very important, technology-neutral law that helps ensure accountability and transparency when personal information is collected by government agencies. The goal is not to limit the use of technology; it is to help ensure that new technology is used in a way to protect democratic values.
Social media, such as YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, offer exciting new opportunities for public participation in government. At the same time, these services collect detailed personal information from users, including viewing habits, IP addresses, and location. Americans should not lose Privacy Act protections simply because the federal government acquires personal information indirectly through third-party vendors.
EPIC recommends that any social network service collecting information on behalf of a federal agency comply with all Privacy Act obligations.