What is PII?

Technocat TidBits: What is PII?

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Hey there, cyber sleuths! Your friendly neighborhood TechnoCat, Cat Casey, here to talk about a vital player in our eDiscovery game: PII, or Personally Identifiable Information. And folks, it’s not just about the usual suspects – your name, address, or phone number.

We’re talking about the VIPs of your personal data world – social security numbers, the secrets of your bank account, and yes, even your email addresses. But the surprises don’t stop there, it also includes some undercover agents you might not suspect, like your internet browsing history (Talk about skeletons in the digital closet, right?)

Here’s a nugget of knowledge to drop at your next virtual hangout: the idea of PII didn’t stroll into the scene until we got up close and personal with digital databases, which was only in the late 20th century. So, in terms of the Internet age, PII is still wet behind the ears!

But don’t let its youth fool you. Just like the rookie detective who cracks the big case, this fledgling concept of personal data protection is not something we can afford to sideline.

We must treat PII with the care and respect it deserves… or brace ourselves for some pretty grim music.

Personally Identifiable Information

The ABCs of PII

At its core, PII, or Personally Identifiable Information, is like the fingerprint of our digital identities. It’s any bit of data that could potentially reveal who’s behind the screen. We’re talking names, emails, social security numbers – the backbone of personal privacy in this digital world we’re navigating.

Ready for a quick crash course? Buckle up, because we’re diving headfirst into the sea of PII that you might stumble upon during your eDiscovery journey:

  1. Names: Every moniker under the sun, from full names to maiden names and even the cool secret agent aliases. It’s all about identity, folks!
  2. Personal Identification Numbers: The usual suspects like Social Security numbers, driver’s license details, and those globetrotting passport numbers.
  3. Addresses: From the homestead to the digital world, including email addresses and physical ones. We’re covering all bases!
  4. Phone Numbers: Doesn’t matter if it’s home, work, or that fancy new cell phone – it’s all on the list!
  5. Personal Traits: Here’s where we get a little CSI – think mugshots, fingerprints, and even handwriting.
  6. Biometric Data: Welcome to the future! Everything from retina scans to the geometry of your face.
  7. Demographic Information: Birth dates, marital statuses, and even religious affiliations. It’s a digital biography.
  8. Work Info: Job titles, salary details, office addresses – if it’s about your 9 to 5, it’s in the mix.
  9. Health Info: This one’s touchy, my friends. We’re venturing into medical records, health conditions, insurance details territory. But remember, this comes under extra rules like HIPAA.
  10. Educational Info: Alma maters, degrees, those gold-star papers – yup, they’re in here too!
  11. Financial Info: It’s all about the money, honey! Bank account details, credit histories, even those late-night online shopping receipts.
  12. Internet Activity: It’s the age of the internet, my friends! Your IP address and social media profiles have joined the PII club.

This list is like the digital universe we’re exploring – expansive and always evolving. But don’t forget, context is king. What might be PII in one case, might not be in another.

handle with care sign

Handle PII with Care

When dealing with this treasure trove of information, let’s channel our inner superheroes. Treat PII with the care it deserves, protect it like the precious digital gem it is. Because with great data, comes great responsibility!

Let’s channel our inner data protectors and ensure personal data remains safe and secure throughout the eDiscovery process. With a steadfast commitment to adhering to data protection laws and regulations, we can shield sensitive information from harm.

So, put on your trusty data protection cap and keep a watchful eye on a diverse range of data types that might hold the key to personally identifiable information (PII). Together, we can safeguard privacy and maintain the utmost integrity in our eDiscovery endeavors.

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Catherine “Cat” Casey
Chief Growth Officer at Reveal
Catherine “Cat” Casey is the chief growth officer for leading AI-powered e-discovery technology Reveal. A global thought leader on the application of AI and advanced technology to the practice of law. She is a frequent keynote speaker and outspoken advocate of legal professionals embracing technology to deliver better legal outcomes. Casey has more than a decade and a half of experience assisting clients with complex e-discovery and forensic needs that arise from litigation, expansive regulation, and complex contractual relationships. Casey has an A.L.B. from Harvard University and attended Pepperdine School of Law.

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