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About PII

Various stories about what sort of data comprises PII, the dangers of PII, where PII is found, and other general information.

What's the worst that could happen?

A computer flash drive containing the names, addresses, and personal health information of 280,000 people is missing - one of the largest recent security breaches of personal health data in the nation.

"We deeply regret this unfortunate incident," said Jay Feldstein, the president of the two affiliated Philadelphia companies, Keystone Mercy Health Plan and AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan.

What are the dangers of PII

PII, or Personally Identifiable Information, is information that is highly personal or sensitive in nature, or that can be used to commit identity theft or other forms of fraud. A security breach involving this sensitive information can lead to any or all of the following:


  • The real possibility that thieves would use the breach to commit identity theft
  • Personal harm to a person whose private information was revealed to people who weren't supposed to see it
  • Financial harm to a person whose financial information was exposed

What is PII

PII stands for Personally Identifiable Information which in this context includes sensitive personal data such as social security numbers, dates of birth, credit card information, grades and educational records, and medical records, to name just a few. It's information that we must protect to ensure people's privacy and to help prevent identity theft and other kinds of fraud.

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