Rules and Policies Protecting PII Privacy Act

If they can add in that person’s race and hometown, thieves might be well on their way to stealing a victim’s identity. However, gloves can also leave prints that are just as unique as human fingerprints. After collecting glove prints, law enforcement can then match them to gloves that they have collected as evidence.

In order to maintain website security and ensure HHS websites are available to the public, we use software programs to monitor traffic and identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage to HHS websites. Law enforcement may use information from these tools to help identify an individual in the event of investigations and as part of any required legal process. All official HHS information available on third-party websites is also available on HHS websites. The third-party website’s security and privacy policies govern your activity on their website. Users of third-party websites often share information with the public, user communities, and/or the third-party organization operating the website.

It regulates collection, use, and disclosure of personal information for private sector organizations and their commercial activities. Canada also has a Privacy Act, which regulates citizens’ interactions with the federal government. If a person makes an online purchase, all the information they would be asked to provide is PII, including first and last name, company, shipping/billing address, email address, phone number, and credit card number.

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. It is the mission of HHS to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. HHS fulfills that mission by providing effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. PII violations can include data breaches where millions of detailed records are stolen. They can also include lower level breaches, like companies not adequately limiting access to and sharing of data between internal departments, or with contractors. Or organizations may not adequately anonymize data before providing it to customers, partners, or researchers.

Safeguarding PII may not always be the sole responsibility of a service provider. Using quasi-information stolen from multiple sources, the perpetrators were able to access an IRS website application by answering personal verification questions that should have been privy to the taxpayers only. Personally identifiable information uses data to confirm an individual’s identity. Vikki Velasquez is a researcher and writer who has managed, coordinated, and directed various community and nonprofit organizations. She has conducted in-depth research on social and economic issues and has also revised and edited educational materials for the Greater Richmond area. A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

In the 1970s, the Chicago Boys school claimed that protection of privacy could have a negative impact on the market because it could lead to incorrect and non-optimal decisions. Other researchers like Andrew F. Daughety and Jennifer F. Reinganum suggested that the opposite was true, and that absence of privacy would also lead to this. The most critical information, such as one’s password, date of birth, ID documents or Social Insurance Number, can be used to log in to different websites to gather more information and access more content.

What’s considered PII depends on the context as well as which country you live in. Different parts of the world have factored in definitions of what “PII” or “personal data” is in their laws. It’s advisable for you to read up on the laws relevant to your part of the world. U.S. lawmakers have paid special attention to the social security number because it can be easily used to commit identity theft. The Social Security Number Protection Act of 2005 and Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2005 each sought to limit the distribution of an individual’s social security number. European data protection law does not utilize the concept of personally identifiable information, and its scope is instead determined by non-synonymous, wider concept of “personal data”.

Personally Identifiable Information refers to any information that can be used alone or with additional data to identify an individual. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines PII as information “that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity.” That includes your name, address, Social Security number and birthday. This presents a challenge regarding the sharing of data with the United States, which is perceived to have less stringent privacy protections. To resolve this issue, the United States and the European Union created the safe harbor framework to give U.S. organizations the benefit of authorized data sharing. To be part of the Safe Harbor, U.S. organizations must voluntarily consent to data privacy principles that are consistent with the EU Data Protection Directive. If your organization allows unauthorized access to a data subject’s sensitive information, you face a greater risk of being penalized by data protection authorities.

As a quick rule of thumb, if you think it probably has value to identity thieves, it should be treated as PII. PII is a set of data, but any one piece of information could be considered PII. For instance, a full name is not enough personally identifiable information for an attacker to use, but a social security number identifies a single individual. A first and last name narrows down an individual’s identity, but without an address and more specific information, the individual could still stay anonymous. For PII to be effective, it must provide enough information that could specifically identify an individual among millions of other people.

Thieves could then use anything from your Social Security number and birthdate to your bank account information or driver’s license number to take out loans or credit cards in your name or access your online credit card or bank account portals. User tracking—implementing ways of tracking user activity, online and while using organizational systems, to identify negligent exposure of sensitive data, compromise of user accounts, or malicious insiders. In the European Union, directive 95/46/EC defines “personal data” as information which can identify a person via an ID number, or factors specific to physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.

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