Personally identifiable information Assignment help
What is personally identifiable information (PII)?
Personally identifiable information (PII) is any data that could potentially identify a specific individual. With the increase in online privacy, companies are now required to protect personally identifiable information (PII). PII is any data that could potentially identify a specific individual. Examples of this include your social security number, bank account information, or credit card number. These numbers are usually used to track consumers’ behavior and can be connected with other pieces of information to create a detailed profile on an individual. When data is anonymized and indistinguishable from other data, it may still contain information that can be used to identify specific individuals. This kind of information is considered PII. At assignmentsguru we have a pool of experienced professional writers in the field of Personally identifiable information. They are the best at providing quality private cloud assignment help to students and companies. Our services are affordable and reliable. We are available online 24/7 working on assignments and doing research and thesis writing for students as we wait for you to keep us doing what we do best. Do not hesitate to seek our help
PII may be used alone or in tandem with other relevant data to identify an individual and may incorporate direct identifiers, such as passport information, that can identify a person uniquely or quasi-identifiers, such as race, that can be combined with other quasi-identifiers, like date of birth, to successfully recognize an individual.
Why does PII need to be secured?
Protecting PII is essential for personal privacy, data privacy, data protection, information privacy and information security. With just a few bits of an individual’s personal information, thieves can create false accounts in the person’s name, incur debt, create a falsified passport or sell a person’s identity to a criminal.
As individuals’ personal data is recorded, tracked, and used on a daily basis — such as in biometric scans with fingerprints or facial recognition systems used to unlock devices — it is increasingly important to protect individual’s identity & sensitive personal information.
What is considered PII?
Any information that can uniquely identify people as individuals, separate from all others, is PII. It may include the following:
date of birth
driver’s license number
credit or debit card number
Social Security number
PII can be difficult to define, but according to the GSA, “PII is not anchored to any single category of information or technology.”. Rather, it requires a case-by-case assessment of the specific risk that an individual can be identified. In performing this assessment, it is important for an agency to recognize that non-PII can become PII whenever additional information is made publicly available — in any medium and from any source — that, when combined with other available information, could be used to identify an individual.”
Although the legal definition of PII may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and state to state, the term typically refers to information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either by itself or in combination with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to an individual.
DOE defines PII as follows.: “Any information collected or maintained by the department about an individual, including but not limited to education, financial transactions, medical history and criminal or employment history, and information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, such as his/her name, Social Security number, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, biometric data, and including any other personal information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual.”
This information includes more examples of what can be considered PPI and can be more sensitive depending on the degree of harm, embarrassment or inconvenience it will cause an individual or organization “if that information is lost, compromised or disclosed,” according to the DOE.
Sensitive vs. nonsensitive PII
PII can be labeled sensitive or nonsensitive. Nonsensitive PII is information that can be transmitted in an unencrypted form without resulting in harm to the individual. Nonsensitive PII can be easily gathered from public records, phone books, corporate directories and websites. This might include information such as zip code, race, gender, date of birth and religion — information that, by itself, could not be used to discern an individual’s identity.
Sensitive PII is information that, when disclosed, could result in harm to the individual if a data breach occurs. This type of sensitive data often has legal, contractual or ethical requirements for restricted disclosure.
Sensitive PII should be encrypted in transit and when it is at rest.. Such information includes biometric data, medical information covered by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws, personally identifiable financial information (PIFI) and unique identifiers, such as passport or Social Security numbers.
Employee personnel records; tax information, including Social Security numbers and Employer Identification Numbers (EINs); password information; credit card numbers; bank accounts; electronic and digital account information, such as email addresses and internet account numbers; and school identification numbers and records are also on the list of sensitive PII.
How is PII used in identity theft?
A number of retailers, health-related organizations, financial institutions — including banks and credit reporting agencies — and federal agencies, such as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have experienced data breaches
The most common type of data breach is when hackers steal or misuse personal information, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. Financial institutions and healthcare providers are the most likely victims of data breaches.
that put individuals’ PII at risk, leaving them potentially vulnerable to identity theft.
The kind of information identity thieves are after will change depending on what cybercriminals are trying to gain. By hacking and accessing computers and other digital files, they can open bank accounts or file fraudulent claims with the right stolen information.
In some cases, criminals can open accounts with just an email address. Others require a name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and more information. Some accounts can even be opened over the phone or on the internet.
Additionally, physical files — such as bills, receipts, a physical copy of birth certificates, Social Security cards or lease information — can be stolen if an individual’s home is broken into. Thieves can sell PII for a significant profit. Criminals may use victims’ information without their realizing it. While thieves may not use victims’ credit cards, they may open new, separate accounts using their victims’ information.
PII laws and regulations
As the amount of structured and unstructured data available keeps mushrooming, the number of data breaches and cyberattacks by actors who realize the value of PII continues to climb. Some people have concerns about how public and private organizations handle sensitive information.
Government agencies and other organizations must have strict policies about collecting PII through the web, customer surveys or user research. Regulatory bodies are hammering out new laws to protect consumer data, while users are looking for more anonymous ways to stay digital.
Many organizations are effected by privacy laws, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that is prevalent in many countries. GDPR, which applies to any organization that collects PII from citizens in the EU, has become a de facto standard worldwide. GDPR holds these organizations fully accountable for protecting PII data, no matter where they might be headquartered.
PII security best practices
As organizations continuously collect, store and distribute PII and other sensitive data, employees, administrators and third-party contractors need to understand the repercussions of mishandled data and be held accountable. Predictive analytics and artificial intelligence are increasingly being used in the workplace. They can sift through large data sets to ensure that any data stored is compliant with all PII rules.
Additionally, organizations establishing procedures for access control can prevent inadvertent disclosure of PII. Other best practices include using strong encryption, secure passwords, and two-factor authentication. You can also implement 2FA & multifactor authentication to increase your data security.
Other recommendations for protecting PII are:
encouraging employees to practice good data backup procedures;
safely destroying or removing old media with sensitive data;
installing software, application and mobile updates;
using secure wireless networks, rather than public Wi-Fi; and
using virtual private networks (VPNs).
To protect PII, individuals should:
limit what they share on social media;
shred important documents before discarding them;
be aware to whom they give their Social Security numbers; and
keep their Social Security cards in a safe place.
Individuals should also make sure to make online purchases or browse financials on secure HTTP Secure (HTTPS) sites.; watch out for shoulder surfing, tailgating or dumpster diving; be careful about uploading sensitive documents to the cloud; and lock devices when not in use.
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