Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » P »

PII - Personally Identifiable Information

Personally identifiable information (PII) is any information or data that can be used to discover or distinguish an individual's identity and specific details about the individual. While definitions for PII vary slightly, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) specifically defines personally identifiable information as:

"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."

Protecting Personally Identifiable Information

Also referred to as personal identifiable information, PII has become increasingly relevant in recent years as privacy laws and regulations have become more stringent for enterprises. As a result, IT departments are tasked with assessing and addressing the specific risks that an individual can be identified when corporate information is made publicly available, including when that information might be combined with other available information that could be used to identify an individual.

Compromised personal identifiable information carries the possibility of causing substantial harm to individuals in the form of identity theft or other fraudulent use of their personal information, and enterprises are now required to take all necessary measures to safeguard this sensitive information to protect their customers and employees and prevent being liable for compromised PII.

Examples of Personally Identifiable Information

Examples of details that fall under the umbrella of personally identifiable information include the individual's full name, e-mail address, home address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth and birthplace, passport number, IP address in certain cases), driver's license number, credit card numbers, mother's maiden name, login credentials and more.

8 Agenda Apps to Help Students Stay Organized

Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »

List of Free Shorten URL Services

A URL shortener is a way to make a long Web address shorter. Try this list of free services. Read More »

Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015

The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »

Java Basics, Part 1

Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »

Java Basics, Part 2

This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »

The 7 Layers of the OSI Model

The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »