What is PII?

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any data that can be used to identify a specific individual. Examples of PII include your name, email address, social security number, biometric identifiers, and so on. PII may be used alone or in combination with other data to identify an individual and can include direct identifiers, such as your social security number, or indirect identifiers such as race, that can be combined with other identifiers, like employment information to identify a specific individual.

PII and similar terms like personal data are used by various legislations across countries. 

  • In the United States, the privacy regulations like California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) define PII as information like name, social security number, and biometric records, which can be used to identify an individual directly or indirectly.
  • In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines “personal data” as information that can identify a person directly or indirectly such as name, an identification number, online identifiers, or characteristics like physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity that can be used to identify a person.