What is Personally Identifiable Information (PII)?

Technology - What is Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Principal Identity Information (PII) is a term used to designate data that, either directly or indirectly, identifies an individual. Such information includes names, addresses, biometrics, and alphanumeric account numbers.

Personal information (PII) is typically considered sensitive, as it could result in harm to the data subject if lost or disclosed without authorization. Fortunately, there are nonsensitive PII types as well.


Personally identifiable information (PII), or PII, refers to any data that can be used to identify an individual. This could include your name, social security number, date of birth, and biometric data.

PII is a term with an expansive definition that varies by jurisdiction. For example, in the United States, NIST defines PII as any information that could be used to identify or locate someone.

Information in the database may be used to identify a person without their knowledge. This includes personal identification numbers such as social security, passport, and driver’s license numbers; bank accounts, credit card numbers, and IP addresses.

In many cases, this data is considered “sensitive,” meaning it could cause harm, embarrassment, inconvenience, or unfairness to the individual who provided it. Examples of sensitive PII include medical records, social security numbers, financial details, and any data that might stigmatize someone or make them feel discriminated against.

While PII can be highly valuable, it is also a prime target for identity theft. This is because PII provides thieves extensive details about an individual – from their name to race and hometown.

The more information a criminal has, the greater their profit opportunities. Thieves often piece together personally identifiable information (PII) about potential victims from various data they possess.

That is why it is critical to safeguard your PII and keep it secure, even when not sensitive. Your PII should remain protected at all times and you must always abide by applicable privacy laws.

For individuals or businesses alike, Personal Identifying Information (PII) is of critical importance for maintaining privacy. Understanding PII and how to safeguard it are paramount in avoiding various issues and safeguarding yourself against potential data breaches. Furthermore, having more personalized online experiences is possible with proper planning and tools. With just a bit of forethought and the right tools in place, keeping PII secure will keep only those whom you trust accessible.

What Qualifies as PII?

What is Personal Identifiable Information (PII)?

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) refers to data that can be used to identify an individual, such as one’s name, email address, phone number or bank account number. As this sensitive data has become a prime target for identity thieves, organizations must take precautions against unauthorized access or breach.

There are various forms of Personal Identifying Information (PII), such as full names, addresses, passport info and social security numbers. Any one of these pieces of data could prove advantageous to an attacker in the wrong hands.

Some PII is considered more sensitive than others, so it’s essential to determine the impact your organization would experience if that data were breached. Levels range from low to high depending on how easily an individual could be identified, the quantity of data breached, and the context in which the collection, storage, use, processing, disclosure or dissemination occurs.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets the rules for how companies must manage Personal Identifiable Information. Among other requirements of GDPR, data must be encrypted at rest and during transit, and vendors are only required to request strictly necessary PII.

Another key distinction is the distinction between sensitive and non-sensitive PII. Sensitive PII is protected by legal or regulatory requirements that require it to be disclosed only under specific conditions, such as with a consent form or during an emergency.

Highly classified or sensitive information is usually safeguarded using specialized technologies like encryption and secure verification techniques. These measures can prevent unauthorized access and disclosure, making PII more difficult for an attacker to acquire.

Personal Identification Information (PII) includes other sensitive data types, like healthcare and financial info. Health info is safeguarded under regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; financial info adheres to standards like Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

When determining which PII your organization must safeguard, it’s essential to consider the potential harm a breach or theft could cause. This will enable you to calculate your confidentiality impact level and create a risk appetite that guides how you approach data protection.


What is Personal Identifiable Information (PII)?

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) refers to any data that can be used to uniquely identify an individual, either alone or combined with other identifying details. PII may include direct identifiers like full names, birth dates, and addresses and quasi-identifiers like race or religion.

When classifying Personal Identifying Information (PII), it may be classified as sensitive or non-sensitive. Generally speaking, sensitive PII refers to data that could cause harm if disclosed; thus it is usually protected under privacy laws or other compliance standards.

Non-sensitive PII, on the other hand, refers to data that could be used to identify an individual without causing harm to them. This type of information typically comes from public sources like phone books, university listings, and websites.

Sensitive Personal Information (PII) can uniquely identify an individual, alone or combined with other identifiers such as social security numbers and biometrics. While this type of PII poses greater protection challenges, it can still be safeguarded through compliance standards and cybersecurity protocols.

In general, global privacy laws such as GDPR and sectorial regulations such as HIPAA dictate the classification of Personal Information. Furthermore, state and regional data breach laws also dictate what counts as PII.

Personal Information (PII) classification varies based on the jurisdiction in which it is collected, stored, and used. Furthermore, data itself can differ significantly between jurisdictions; what constitutes PII in one country may not be deemed so by another.

Ultimately, the classification of Personal Information is determined by an organization’s business goals and how the data will be utilized in a particular context. Nonetheless, it’s essential to comprehend what PII is and what can be considered PII before working with it.

Typically, the risk of PII for data collection depends on which information is most sensitive. Social security numbers and driver’s license numbers are frequently classified as PII, while employee names and performance ratings do not fall into this category. Regardless, these types of records should be monitored regularly to mitigate any associated risks.

What Is Not PII?

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is any data that uniquely identifies an individual, including a person’s name, email address or social security number. Unfortunately, PII often becomes the source of legal issues and data breaches.

Personal Information (PII) can be classified as sensitive or nonsensitive, depending on its connection to an individual and the protections required. Sensitive PII must generally be stored and transmitted securely or encrypted for protection.

Common forms of personal identifying information (PII) include names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and physical addresses. This data can be used to uniquely identify an individual and track them down.

Furthermore, PII refers to data that allows an individual to be reached in person or online. It could include biometric information like a fingerprint or retina scan as well.

Many organizations are mandated to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII). These regulations may cover the technology used for collecting, processing, and managing PII as well as the policies that dictate its usage.

With the ever-increasing volume of data generated, it’s essential to recognize what counts as Personal Identifying Information (PII). Doing so will enable you to avoid common pitfalls and secure your PII.

Personal Information (PII) can be difficult to define, but most agree that it includes anything that identifies an individual in any way. This could range from a person’s name, date of birth, or physical address to their credit card number, social security number, and medical information.

Examples of non-PII include device IDs, IP addresses or cookies that cannot be used to uniquely identify someone. This makes it more difficult for an attacker to trace someone’s identity.

Information that is not personally identifiable (PII) includes “quasi-identifiers” or “pseudo-identifiers.” These are pieces of data that may be used to identify an individual but don’t actually identify them directly.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – Cybersecurity Awareness Training

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