Assurances of Confidentiality


An Assurance of Confidentiality is a formal confidentiality protection authorized under Section 308(d) of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA). It is used for public health activities conducted by CDC staff or contractors that involve the collection or maintenance of sensitive identifiable information. This protection allows CDC programs to assure individuals and institutions involved in non-research activities that those conducting the project will protect the confidentiality of the data collected. The law states that no identifiable information may be used for any purpose other than the purpose for which it was supplied unless such institution or individual has consented to that disclosure.

Statutory Authority

Under section 308(d) of the PHSA, surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) as part of their authorizing legislation are automatically protected by an Assurance of Confidentiality. In addition, Assurances of Confidentiality may be issued to public health activities conducted by all other CDC components, after formal application to and approval by the CDC Confidentiality Review Group.

Extent and Limitations of Coverage

Protected information includes identifiable information on institutions or individuals who are the subjects of non-research activities with an approved Assurance of Confidentiality.

Disclosures can be made without individual authorization only for purposes stated at the time of data collection or specifically consented to thereafter by each of the parties who were provided the promise of confidentiality.

Assurances of Confidentiality do not take the place of good data security or clear policies and procedures for data protection, which are essential to the protection of participants’ privacy. Investigators should take appropriate steps to safeguard data and findings. Unauthorized individuals must not access the data or learn the identity of participants.

Assurances of Confidentiality Contact
Phone: 404-639-7570

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