Confidentiality of Data Collected by BLS for Statistical Purposes
The mission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is to collect, process, analyze, and disseminate essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor. In order to maintain credibility and trust with our survey respondents, confidentiality protections for our data are essential. Protecting the confidentiality of data is central to accomplishing the BLS mission.
When collecting data, the BLS makes a pledge of confidentiality to its respondents. This pledge varies depending on the context of each survey, but the standard BLS confidentiality pledge promises that data collected are used for statistical purposes only.
Standard BLS Confidentiality Pledge
"The Bureau of Labor Statistics, its employees, agents, and partner statistical agencies, will use the information you provide for statistical purposes only and will hold the information in confidence to the full extent permitted by law. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Title 5 of Public Law 107-347) and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will not be disclosed in identifiable form without your informed consent."
The most relevant statute which governs BLS confidentiality is the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (CIPSEA) (PDF). This statute prohibits disclosure or release, for non-statistical purposes, of information collected under a pledge of confidentiality. Under CIPSEA, data may not be released to unauthorized persons. Willful and knowing disclosure of protected data to unauthorized persons is a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine.
For information on the Bureau's implementation of CIPSEA, see Bureau of Labor Statistics Report to the Office of Management and Budget On Implementation of The Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002, Calendar Year 2013 (PDF).
Although CIPSEA is the main law governing BLS confidentiality, several other laws also play a role in ensuring confidentiality of BLS data.
This act requires the government and its agents to protect personal information it collects and maintains on private citizens.
The Workforce Investment Act
This act prohibits the disclosure of data collected for statistical purposes.
The Trade Secrets Act
This act prohibits disclosure of confidential business information collected and maintained by the government.
In addition to the statutes discussed above, BLS employees are guided by internal policies and procedures with respect to safeguarding confidential data. If you have any questions or you would like more information on data confidentiality, please e-mail
Last Modified Date: May 12, 2014