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What is Personally Identifiable Information (PII)?
Personally identifiable information (PII) is data that can be used to identify an individual, either directly or indirectly. Data such as name, address, contact information, date of birth, or social security number fall under the umbrella of PII.
PII can be distinguished between sensitive and non-sensitive personally identifiable information. Non-sensitive PII is also transmitted unencrypted and can easily be found, for example, in telephone directories, websites, or newspaper articles. Sensitive PII should always be transmitted in encrypted form, as knowing it could potentially cause harm to the data subject. Passport or social security numbers would be examples of this variation.
Once PII falls into the wrong hands, it can be used for illegitimate activities, such as identity fraud or phishing. Therefore, it is important to ensure careful data protection in the digital age.