Last updated on May 18, 2022
What is Personal Information?
Personal Information is any factual or subjective information, whether recorded or not, about an identifiable individual.
In today’s digital economy, your personal information is the new currency.
Your preferences, likes and dislikes, and facts about you, when bundled up with thousands of other people all help marketers and businesses refine their products and services.
Oftentimes this information is helpful as it ultimately helps you, the consumer, to unknowingly shape a product, service, or website experience, but sometimes it can be used illegitimately or in a harmful way.
What are the different types of personal information?
There are two main types of personal information: Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Sensitive Personal Information (SPI).
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any information that can be used to identify an individual. This includes things like your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number.
Sensitive Personal Information (SPI) is any information that is particularly sensitive and could be used to exploit an individual. This includes things like your financial information, medical records, and biometric data.
Examples of Personal Information
As mentioned, your personal information is any data that could identify you. This can include your name, address, date of birth, financial information, and more. In the digital age, it‘s important to be aware of the different types of personal information and how to keep it safe. Learn about the types and examples of personal information that uniquely identifies you in the table below.
|Personal Descriptors||Name, age, place of birth, date of birth, gender, weight, height, eye color, hair color, fingerprint|
|Identification Numbers||Health IDs, Social Insurance Numbers (SIN), Social Security Numbers (SSN), PIN numbers, debit and credit card numbers|
|Ethnicity||Race, color, national or ethnic origin|
|Health||Physical or mental disabilities, family or individual health history, health records, blood type, DNA code, prescriptions|
|Financial||Income, loan records, transactions, purchases, and spending habits|
|Employment||Employee files, employment history, evaluations, reference interviews, disciplinary actions|
|Credit||Credit records, creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity|
|Criminal||Convictions, charges, pardons|
|Life||Character, general reputation, personal characteristics, social status, marital status, religion, political affiliations and beliefs, opinions, comments, intentions|
How is personal information used?
Personal information is used for a variety of purposes, including marketing, fraud prevention, and identity verification. It can also be used to provide targeted content and personalized experiences.
How is personal information collected?
Personal information is collected through a variety of means, including cookies, web forms, and third-party data providers.
What are the benefits of collecting personal information?
There are a number of benefits to collecting personal information. This includes the ability to provide targeted content and personalized experiences, as well as the ability to prevent fraud and verify identities.
What are the risks of collecting personal information?
There are a number of risks associated with collecting personal information. This includes the risk of data breaches, as well as the risk of identity theft and fraud.
How can I protect my personal information?
There are a number of things you can do to protect your personal information. This includes using strong passwords, avoiding phishing scams, and being careful about what you share online.
What should I do if I suspect my personal information has been compromised?
If you suspect that your personal information has been compromised, you should take immediate action to protect your accounts and limit the damage. This includes changing your passwords, monitoring your credit report, and contacting the relevant authorities.
What are the laws in place to protect personal information?
There are a number of laws that protect personal information, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
How has the definition of personal information changed over time?
The definition of personal information has changed over time as our understanding of data and privacy has evolved. This includes the addition of new types of information, such as biometric data, as well as the introduction of new laws and regulations.