The OMB has ordered agencies to ignore the Privacy Act by invoking an absurdly broad interpretation of the Privacy Act's "routine use" exemption. The Privacy Act is a general prohibition, subject to narrow exceptions, on disclosure of records between agencies or to the public. The "routine use" exception allows disclosure when the use of a record is "for a purpose which is compatible with the purpose for which it is collected." Privacy being essential to patient care, it is impossible to justify a "routine use" exception for a system knowingly built in a way that will permit disclosure of intimate health care data.
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