Let’s talk about data privacy, personally identifiable information and why all of this matters.
In simple words, data privacy protects sensitive personal data from unwanted third parties who should not have access to it. It is about defining who has access to a person’s data.
In today’s world, we share our data with a lot of people, and businesses. Make sure that nobody can access your personal data without your consent. This is what data privacy means.
Noncompliance with government privacy regulations allows hackers or malicious insiders unrestricted access to your data. Identity theft cases have raised awareness about data privacy. More and more people are increasingly paying attention to businesses’ compliance with data privacy laws and realizing the importance of protecting their personally identifiable information (PII).
What is PII data? How is it related to data privacy?
Organizations can use personally identifiable information to identify, locate, or contact individuals. PII refers to information about an individual.
Organizations that share sensitive data about an individual typically need to safeguard the data properly. The category of non-sensitive PII includes information that does not cause harm when shared with others. However, organizations must securely store and transmit sensitive PII to prevent harm to the individual. Disclosure of this information can jeopardize the individual’s data privacy, leading to various consequences. Organizations separate sensitive PII from non-sensitive PII and handle information responsibly to ensure security and legal compliance.
People in the United States recognize personally identifiable information (PII) to involve information like social security numbers, names, and biometric records of individuals, which enables the tracing of their identity. In the European Union, personal identifiable information (PII) includes information such as ID numbers and physical, mental, cultural, or physiological factors that identify a person. The regulations in Australia include a much broader classification of PII that includes various factors that can determine a person’s identity. Similarly, different countries have a few differences in the exact definition of personally identifiable information that they require businesses to protect under data privacy laws. The common intent is to protect their citizens personal data so it cannot be used for any crime or malicious intent.
What does PII (Personal Identifiable Information) include?
- Full name
- Home address
- ID number
- Social security number
- Driver’s license
- Birth date
- Birth place
- Phone number
- Credit card number
- Bank account number
- Passport number
- Login name
- Email ID
- Vehicle plate number
Governments and businesses have been taking data privacy more seriously these days as common citizens have become more conscious about the way their personal information is stored and shared. It is crucial that there is a strict policy and management system to ensure data privacy in any organization.
What happens when Data is not protected?
If a person’s personal data gets into the wrong hands, there can be many unwanted consequences. For example, if a criminal gets a hold of sensitive financial data like your credit card number or bank account details, they can use it to steal money or make unauthorized purchases. If someone gets access to information like your birth date, social security number, address, etc., they can use it to commit identity theft.
Data privacy goes beyond just the PII of customers or employees. It also includes information pertaining to the organization itself, whether it is their financial information or research data. If sensitive data from a government agency is not secured, it could easily fall into the hands of the enemy state or terrorists who can use it for great harm. If there is a breach at a corporation, it compromises their customer data as well as their proprietary data and could allow competitors to misuse it. A person’s medical information can also be used for malicious purposes if there is a data privacy breach at a clinic or hospital. Similarly, any such instance where an individual’s sensitive PII is not protected could lead to a lot of unwanted scenarios.
In this digital age, data privacy matters a lot more than it ever has before and everyone needs to pay heed to its importance. A lot of people end up sharing more information than they realize through the internet and any of it could end up in the hands of hackers who can misuse it if there is lack of data privacy law compliance.