The ESTA website
operates under the rules and regulations that are outlined in the United States Privacy Act to
insure the privacy of your information. In fact, the U.S. Code § 552a - "Records maintained on
individuals" states the following regarding the conditions of disclosure:
"No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of
communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or
with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains."
There are a couple of exceptions to the rule though, which are listed below:
- Officers and employees of the agency that need the information to perform their duties
- For routine use in a government agency
- The Bureau of Census can request some of this information when they are carrying out a census
or a survey, e.g. the amount of people travelling to the U.S. or something similar.
- To someone who is gathering data for statistical purposes only. The information then shared
would not be individually identifiable.
- The data can be shared for National Archives or records administration and if your ESTA
acts as a I-94W then your data can be archived for 75 years.
- Information on the ESTA application can be shared with another agency or governmental
jurisdiction for law enforcement purposes.
- Your personal information can be shared with the Congress for any congressional investigations.
Since the ESTA website is operated by the United States government, it uses technology to make sure
that only people who are authorised can view your personal details and to safeguard your privacy.
It is important to note that law enforcement can look at your ESTA data if they need it for an
investigation. For more information on how long information is retained by the U.S.
government click here.