Personal Information

Definition & Meaning:

Personal Information, also known as Personal Data, refers to any information related to an identifiable individual.

This can include direct identifiers like names, email addresses, and social security numbers, as well as indirect identifiers that, when combined, can lead to identifying a specific person, such as their location data, IP address, or even their physical characteristics.

For example, if you sign up for an online service, the information you provide during the registration process, like your name, email address, and birthdate, is considered personal information.

This information can be used on its own or with other data to identify, contact, or locate you.

In the digital age, personal information extends beyond just the basics.
Your online activities, such as the websites you visit, the purchases you make, or your search queries, can also be considered personal information when they can be linked back to you.

This is because such data can reveal preferences, interests, and even behavioral patterns that are unique to you.

The collection, use, and sharing of personal information are heavily regulated by laws and regulations around the world, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States.

These laws are designed to protect your privacy and give you control over your personal information, requiring businesses to be transparent about their data practices and to obtain your consent for certain activities.

For instance, a business must inform you about the personal information it collects, the purpose for its collection, and whom it shares it with through a privacy policy.

You often have the right to access the personal information a company holds about you, correct it if it’s inaccurate, or even request its deletion.