Personally Identifiable Information

Definition & Meaning:

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) refers to any data that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person or to identify an individual in context.

This includes a wide range of information such as your name, address, email address, social security number, passport number, driver’s license number, bank account numbers, and even digital identifiers like IP addresses or login IDs.

For example, when you fill out a form on a website to sign up for a newsletter, the information you provide, like your name and email address, is considered PII because it can be used to identify you.

Similarly, when you shop online, the combination of your billing address and credit card information is also PII, as it uniquely identifies you and allows transactions to be completed in your name.

PII is an important concept in the realm of data protection and privacy laws.

Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States have specific requirements for how businesses must handle and protect PII to safeguard consumer privacy.

These laws mandate that organizations must obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting their PII, ensure the security of this data against unauthorized access, and provide individuals with rights to access, correct, or delete their personal information.

Protecting PII is essential not only to comply with legal requirements but also to maintain trust and privacy in the digital world.

A breach of PII can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and other forms of cybercrime, highlighting the importance of securing this information both online and offline.