How to Cite a Privacy Act in APA

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The American Psychological Association treats privacy acts as legal citations. As such, APA uses “The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation” for its privacy act citation format.

Citing Statutes

When citing federal statutes, list the act's name, title and code name. Insert a special symbol -- § -- followed by the section, volume and year. For example:

Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a (1974).

For unofficial codes -- such as the United States Code Service or United States Code Annotated -- use the same format but list the publisher followed by the year. For example:

5 U.S.C.A. § 552a (Westlaw, 2004).

Cite online versions of code as you would the print version. Cite United States Code that is not yet in print using the same format but follow this by stating U.S.C. Prelim. For example:

Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. Prelim. § 552a (2012 Ed. Supp. I, 2013).

In-Text Citations

For in-text citations, list the name of the act in title case followed by the year the act was enacted in parentheses. For example:

The Privacy Act amendments address Internet issues (2013).

Alternatively, name the act in the text followed by "of" and the year. For example:

Congress enacted the Privacy Act of 1974.


About the Author

John Huddle is an Army veteran with enlisted service as general hospital staff and hospital chaplain's assistant. His career also included stints as a teacher, adjunct faculty, administrator and school psychologist. Twice, Dr. Huddle was a major party nominee for state office. He also served as a director on several nonprofit boards. Today he enjoys consulting and lobbying for underdog causes.

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