In order to provide its services to the general public, USCG collects certain information from the public. All such activities must have approval of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and are controlled under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501):"...to have Federal agencies become more responsible and publicly accountable for reducing the burden of Federal paperwork on the public." The Paperwork Reduction Act was implemented under 5 CFR 1320, Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public.
Burden (5 CFR 1320.3(b)): Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency, including:
(1) Reviewing instructions;
(2) Developing, acquiring, installing, and utilizing technology and systems for the purpose of collecting, validating, and verifying information;
(3) Developing, acquiring, installing, and utilizing technology and systems for the purpose of processing and maintaining information;
(4) Developing, acquiring, installing, and utilizing technology and systems for the purpose of disclosing and providing information;
(5) Adjusting the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements;
(6) Training personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information;
(7) Searching data sources;
(8) Completing and reviewing the collection of information; and
(9) Transmitting, or otherwise disclosing the information.
Collection of Information (5 CFR 1320.3(c)): Collection of information means, except as provided in §1320.4, the obtaining, causing to be obtained, soliciting, or requiring the disclosure to an agency, third parties or the public of information by or for an agency by means of identical questions posed to, or identical reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure requirements imposed on, ten or more persons, whether such collection of information is mandatory, voluntary, or required to obtain or retain a benefit. "Collection of information" includes any requirement or request for persons to obtain, maintain, retain, report, or publicly disclose information. As used in this Part, "collection of information" refers to the act of collecting or disclosing information, to the information to be collected or disclosed, to a plan and/or an instrument calling for the collection or disclosure of information, or any of these, as appropriate.
(1) A "collection of information" may be in any form or format, including the use of report forms; application forms; schedules; questionnaires; surveys; reporting or recordkeeping requirements; contracts; agreements; policy statements; plans; rules or regulations; planning requirements; circulars; directives; instructions; bulletins; requests for proposal or other procurement requirements; interview guides; oral communications; posting, notification, labeling, or similar disclosure requirements; telegraphic or telephonic requests; automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques; standard questionnaires used to monitor compliance with agency requirements; or any other techniques or technological methods used to monitor compliance with agency requirements. A "collection of information" may implicitly or explicitly include related collection of information requirements.
(2) Requirements by an agency for a person to obtain or compile information for the purpose of disclosure to members of the public or the public at large, through posting, notification, labeling or similar disclosure requirements constitute the "collection of information" whenever the same requirement to obtain or compile information would be a "collection of information" if the information were directly provided to the agency. The public disclosure of information originally supplied by the Federal government to the recipient for the purpose of disclosure to the public is not included within this definition.
(3) "Collection of information" includes questions posed to agencies, instrumentalities, or employees of the United States, if the results are to be used for general statistical purposes, that is, if the results are to be used for statistical compilations of general public interest, including compilations showing the status or implementation of Federal activities and programs.
(4) As used in paragraph (c) of this section, "ten or more persons" refers to the persons to whom a collection of information is addressed by the agency within any 12-month period, and to any independent entities to which the initial addressee may reasonably be expected to transmit the collection of information during that period, including independent State, territorial, tribal or local entities and separately incorporated subsidiaries or affiliates. For the purposes of this definition of "ten or more persons," "persons" does not include employees of the respondent acting within the scope of their employment, contractors engaged by a respondent for the purpose of complying with the collection of information, or current employees of the Federal government (including military reservists and members of the National Guard while on active duty) when acting within the scope of their employment, but it does include retired and other former Federal employees.
(i) Any recordkeeping, reporting, or disclosure requirement contained in a rule of general applicability is deemed to involve ten or more persons.
(ii) Any collection of information addressed to all or a substantial majority of an industry is presumed to involve ten or more persons.
Information (5 CFR 1320.3(h)): Information means any statement or estimate of fact or opinion, regardless of form or format, whether in numerical, graphic, or narrative form, and whether oral or maintained on paper, electronic or other media. "Information" does not generally include items in the following categories; however, OMB may determine that any specific item constitutes "information":
(1) Affidavits, oaths, affirmations, certifications, receipts, changes of address, consents, or acknowledgments; provided that they entail no burden other than that necessary to identify the respondent, the date, the respondent's address, and the nature of the instrument (by contrast, a certification would likely involve the collection of "information" if an agency conducted or sponsored it as a substitute for a collection of information to collect evidence of, or to monitor, compliance with regulatory standards, because such a certification would generally entail burden in addition to that necessary to identify the respondent, the date, the respondent's address, and the nature of the instrument);
(2) Samples of products or of any other physical objects;
(3) Facts or opinions obtained through direct observation by an employee or agent of the sponsoring agency or through non-standardized oral communication in connection with such direct observations;
(4) Facts or opinions submitted in response to general solicitations of comments from the public, published in the Federal Register or other publications, regardless of the form or format thereof, provided that no person is required to supply specific information pertaining to the commenter, other than that necessary for self-identification, as a condition of the agency's full consideration of the comment;
(5) Facts or opinions obtained initially or in follow-on requests, from individuals (including individuals in control groups) under treatment or clinical examination in connection with research on or prophylaxis to prevent a clinical disorder, direct treatment of that disorder, or the interpretation of biological analyses of body fluids, tissues, or other specimens, or the identification or classification of such specimens;
(6) A request for facts or opinions addressed to a single person;
(7) Examinations designed to test the aptitude, abilities, or knowledge of the persons tested and the collection of information for identification or classification in connection with such examinations;
(8) Facts or opinions obtained or solicited at or in connection with public hearings or meetings;
(9) Facts or opinions obtained or solicited through non-standardized follow-up questions designed to clarify responses to approved collections of information; and
(10) Like items so designated by OMB.