In this instance, it is the context of the information that would cause this to be a reportable privacy incident. PHI is useful to patients and health professionals; it is also valuable to clinical and scientific researchers when anonymized. However, for hackers, PHI offers a wealth of personal consumer information that, when stolen, can be sold elsewhere or even held hostage through ransomware until the victimized healthcare organization sends a payoff. Whether companies handle PII or PHI, they should employ records management programs to gain better control of their data by moving it to more intense document management systems and repositories or by disposing of content that’s no longer required.
The concept of PII has become prevalent as information technology and the Internet have made it easier to collect PII leading to a profitable market in collecting and reselling PII. PII can also be exploited by criminals to stalk or steal the identity of a person, or to aid in the planning of criminal acts. From a legal perspective, the responsibility for protecting PII is not solely attributed to organizations; responsibility may be shared with the individual owners of the data. Data anonymization seeks to protect private or sensitive data by deleting or encrypting personally identifiable information from a database.
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States. In some cases, criminals can open accounts with just an email address. Others require a name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and more information.
The best definition of personally identifiable information, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is any information that either identifies someone directly or lets someone identify an individual when it’s combined with other data. PHI, PII, Personal Finance Information , and electronic PHI are forms of digital data that must be physically and virtually protected. The first step is to identify all ways the organization collects data, identify the regulatory standards that oversee the way data is handled, and then apply strategies that follow all guidelines. The European Union General Data Protection Regulation defines the way corporations must work with PII. It provides guidelines on what would be considered PII and what must be done to store, secure, and delete it.
Such information includes biometric data, medical information covered by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws, personally identifiable financial information and unique identifiers, such as passport or Social Security numbers. In exchange, you receive the benefits of their data — their interests, their demographics, and other non-identifying information you might use for research and marketing. Collecting customer data also helps your organization run more efficiently and recognize your costs.
The app was designed to take the information from those who volunteered to give access to their data for the quiz. Unfortunately, the app collected not only the quiz takers’ data but, because of a loophole in Facebook’s system, was able also to collect data from the friends and family members of the quiz takers. Safeguarding PII may not always be the sole responsibility of a service provider. If you’re confused, stay with me and in a few minutes I will walk you through specific examples on how you can safeguard Sensitive PII.
Sensitive data access auditing—in parallel to monitoring activities by privileged users, monitoring and auditing all access to sensitive data, blocking and alerting on suspicious or anomalous activity. Organizations use the concept of PII to understand which data they store, process and manage that identifies people and may carry additional responsibility, security requirements, and in some cases legal or compliance requirements. Social engineering is the act of exploiting human weaknesses to gain access to personal information and protected systems.
As such, companies in possession of Jane’s data are beholden to data privacy regulations. If you work in an industry which needs people to share personal information (e.g. healthcare, security industries, public sector), then you must collect and handle this data securely. Monitor your business for data breaches and protect your customers’ trust. As a website admin, app creator or product owner, you need to be aware that the traces visitors and users leave behind could be of a sensitive nature. These traces might enable you to identify individuals, so you need to handle such data with the utmost caution.
Minimize the vendor’s use, collection, and retention of PII to what is strictly necessary to accomplish their business purpose and scope of work–consider the feasibility of de-identifying or anonymizing the information. Secure audit trail archiving—ensuring that any activity conducted on or in relation to PII is audited and retained for a period of 1-7 years, for legal or compliance purposes, and also to enable forensic investigation of security incidents. Ethical walls—implementing screening mechanisms to prevent certain departments or individuals within an organization from viewing PII that is not relevant to their work, or that might create a conflict of interest. Non-sensitive PII can be transmitted in unsecure form without causing harm to an individual.