What is Personally Identifiable Information?
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) refers to any data that can be used to uniquely identify an individual. This can include things like a person’s name, address, phone number, email address, Social Security number, and financial information. PII is considered sensitive because it can be used to access someone’s personal accounts, steal their identity, or commit other types of fraud.
Which Laws Govern PII?
There are various laws and regulations that govern the collection, use, and protection of PII. The most well-known of these is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, which sets out specific guidelines for the handling of PII. In the United States, the primary law governing PII is the Privacy Act of 1974, which sets out the rules for the collection, use, and dissemination of PII by federal agencies.
How is PII Collected?
PII can be collected in a variety of ways, including through online forms, surveys, and social media. It is important for individuals to be aware of how their PII is being collected and used, and to take steps to protect it. This can include being cautious about sharing personal information online, using strong and unique passwords, and regularly updating security software.
Businesses and organizations that collect PII also have a responsibility to protect this information. This includes implementing appropriate security measures to prevent data breaches, and being transparent about how PII is being used. In the event of a data breach, organizations are required to notify affected individuals and take steps to mitigate the potential harm.
Overall, PII is a valuable and sensitive type of data that should be handled with care. By understanding what PII is and taking steps to protect it, individuals and organizations can help ensure the security and privacy of personal information.