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How to Cite a Privacy Act in APA


APA is a style guide used by authors when submitting manuscripts for publication by the American Psychological Association. Numerous other publishers, organizations and educational institutions also use APA as a standard for how written work should be formatted. One of the most confusing parts of using any style guide is learning how to cite laws, bills and other legal materials. APA's style focuses on efficiency and including just enough information so that a reader may quickly look up the information you reference. Note, APA borrows heavily from "The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation" and modifies its rules when it comes to referencing legal material.

Cite the act based on where it appears in the U.S. Code. Give its official or popular name followed by its year of ratification in the text, such as the Drivers Privacy Protection Act of 1994. In the references, give the official name of the statute. Follow it by the volume source and section number. Know that the reference listing should also include the year of ratification in parentheses at the end of the listing. For example, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2510-22 (1986).

Cite a law by its uncodified form by using its public law number as an alternative. For example, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-191. In the references, add the specific section of the law you are citing and its place within the United States Statutes at Large. For example, to cite the section of the law titled "Recommendations With Respect to Privacy of Certain Health Information," use Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Pub. L. No. 104-191, § 264, 110 Stat.1936.

Follow a similar pattern when citing state privacy laws. Start with the name of the statute, where it's codified, section numbers and year. For example, Minnesota's Internet Privacy law would be cited as Internet Privacy, Minn. Stat. §325M.01 - .09 (2002).

About the Author

Angela Ogunjimi has been a prize-winning writer and editor since 1994. She was a general assignment reporter at two newspapers and a business writer at two magazines. She writes on nutrition, obesity, diabetes and weight control for a project of the National Institutes of Health. Ogunjimi holds a master's degree in sociology from George Washington University and a bachelor's in journalism from New York University.

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