Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

PII is any information about an individual maintained by an agency, including (1) any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual‘s identity, such as name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother‘s maiden name, or biometric records; and (2) any other information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial, and employment information.

PII can be divided into two categories: linked information and linkable information.

Linked information is any piece of personal information that can be used to identify an individual and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Email address
  • Social security number
  • Passport number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Credit card numbers
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • Log in details

Linkable information on the other hand, is information that can identify a person when combined with another piece of information could identify, trace, or locate a person.

Here are some examples of linkable information:

  • First or last name (if common)
  • Country, state, city, postcode
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Non-specific age (e.g. 30-40 instead of 30)
  • Job position and workplace

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