CIPSEA is the acronym for the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (Pub. L. No. 115-435, 132 Stat. 5529 § 302).

Class E Felony

The status and designation as a “convicted felon” is considered permanent and is not extinguished upon sentence completion, even if parole, probation or early release is granted. A convicted felon can face long term legal consequences persisting after the end of his or her imprisonment, including

  • Disenfranchisement
  • Exclusion from obtaining certain licenses such as a visa, or professional licenses required to legally operate, making many vocations off-limits
  • Exclusion from purchase and possession of firearms, ammunition and body armor
  • Ineligibility for serving on a jury
  • Ineligibility for government assistance or welfare, including being barred from federally funded housing
  • Deportation if the criminal is not a citizen

Additionally, most job applications and rental applications ask about felony history, and answering dishonestly can be grounds for rejecting the application, or termination if the the falsehood is discovered after hire. It is legal to discriminate against felons in hiring decisions, as is the decision whether to rent housing to them. Therefore, felons face barriers to finding both jobs and housing. Many bonding companies will not issue bonds to convicted felons, also effectively barring them from certain jobs. Many banks will refuse service to convicted felons.

Confidentiality Laws

  • The Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a)
  • The Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242m(d) section 308(d)
  • The Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act or CIPSEA (Pub. L. No. 115-435, 132 Stat. 5529 302)

Designated Agent

A Designated Agent is a person who has entered into a legally binding agreement with NCHS to collect, process, analyze, or otherwise access confidential data for statistical purposes.

A Census employee collecting NCHS survey data is an example of a Designated Agent.

Direct Identifiers

Direct identifiers have additional security measures in place. Very few individuals may access this type of information and only when “need to know” requirements are met.

Indirect Identifiers

Indirect identifiers may be difficult to detect because they involve multiple data items, including some that potentially could be linked to external files. The potential risk of linking NCHS data with external files is difficult to assess because the content and availability of external files change over time. Both publicly available and nonpublic files may pose disclosure risks if they can be linked to NCHS data. The following example can help you understand disclosure risks from indirect identifiers.


An NCHS data file has no names, addresses or social security numbers, but it does include state and county, as well as respondent age, race, detailed occupation, and place of birth. The file has three female respondents 40-50 years old who are registered pediatric nurses. One of the nurses was born in the Philippines. A web-based state registry of health professionals includes the same information as the survey, such as state and county of residence, age, race, and place of birth and the names of the health professionals. If the registry and the NCHS survey data are cross-referenced, the name of the woman born in the Philippines can be identified.

Law Enforcement

Some state or federal laws may require notification of authorities if child abuse is reported. Agencies must inform respondents at the time of collection that revelations of child abuse must be reported to legal authorities.

Mortality (Death) Data

In the United States, state laws require death certificates to be completed for all deaths, and federal laws mandate national collection and publication of deaths.

Mortality data from the National Vital Statistics Systems provide access to statistical information from death certificates.

Natality Data

In the United States, state laws require birth certificates to be completed for all births, and federal laws mandate national collection and publication of births and other vital statistics data. 

Birth data from the National Vital Statistics System provide access to statistical information from birth certificates.

National Death Index (NDI)

The National Death Index (NDI) is a central computerized index of death record information on file in state vital statistics offices. Working with these offices, NCHS established the NDI as a resource to aid epidemiologists and other health and medical investigators conducting health research or surveillance.

  • NDI data are available to investigators solely for statistical purposes in medical and health research. Data are not accessible to organizations or the general public for legal, administrative, or genealogic purposes.
  • NDI is a national file of death record information, beginning in 1979, compiled from computer files submitted by state vital statistics offices. Death records are added to the NDI file annually, approximately 12 months after the end of a particular calendar year.

Personally Identifiable Information

PII may consist of direct identifiers or indirect identifiers. A single direct identifier could reveal a respondent’s identity. PII direct identifiers include name, social security number, and other information that is unique to an individual. On the other hand, indirect identifiers on their own may not identify a respondent, but when combined with other information, could identify a respondent. PII indirect identifiers include race, ethnicity, geography, occupation, date of birth, place of birth, or other descriptors.

Record Level

Record level means the information pertains to a single individual.


Willful means doing something intentionally. As used here, it refers to intentionally using or sharing confidential information when you are aware it is not permissible to do so.