How Is My Personal Information Publically Available?

This guide explains the steps individuals can go through if their personal information is made publicly available on the Internet. Protect your online privacy.
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However, PII is a legal concept, not a technical concept, and as noted, it is not utilised in all jurisdictions.

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Because of the versatility and power of modern re-identification algorithms, [8] [9] [10] the absence of PII data does not mean that the remaining data does not identify individuals. While some attributes may not be uniquely identifying on their own, any attribute can be potentially identifying in combination with others. The following data, often used for the express purpose of distinguishing individual identity, clearly classify as PII under the definition used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology described in detail below: The following are less often used to distinguish individual identity, because they are traits shared by many people.


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However, they are potentially PII, because they may be combined with other personal information to identify an individual. When a person wishes to remain anonymous, descriptions of them will often employ several of the above, such as "a year-old white male who works at Target". Note that information can still be private , in the sense that a person may not wish for it to become publicly known, without being personally identifiable. Moreover, sometimes multiple pieces of information, none sufficient by itself to uniquely identify an individual, may uniquely identify a person when combined; this is one reason that multiple pieces of evidence are usually presented at criminal trials.

How To Remove Information From Google & Public Records

In hacker and Internet slang , the practice of finding and releasing such information is called " doxing ". However, in the EU rules, there has been a clearer notion that the data subject can potentially be identified through additional processing of other attributes—quasi- or pseudo-identifiers. In an early draft of the EU General Data Protection Regulation , this was formalized in Article 4, but was omitted in the final version: Another term similar to PII, "personal information" is defined in a section of the California data breach notification law, SB For example, the name John Smith has no meaning in the current context and is therefore not SB "personal information", but it is PII.

The combination of a name with a context may also be considered PII; for example, if a person's name is on a list of patients for an HIV clinic.

However, it is not necessary for the name to be combined with a context in order for it to be PII. The reason for this distinction is that bits of information such as names, although they may not be sufficient by themselves to make an identification, may later be combined with other information to identify persons and expose them to harm. In Australia, the Privacy Act deals with the protection of individual privacy, using the OECD Privacy Principles from the s to set up a broad, principles-based regulatory model unlike in the US, where coverage is generally not based on broad principles but on specific technologies, business practices or data items.

Section 6 has the relevant definition. This raises the question of reasonableness: Just how much extra effort or difficulty would such a step need before we could clearly say that the identity could NOT be "reasonably ascertained" from it?

What To Do When Your Personal Information Becomes Publicly Available Online

For instance, if the information involves an IP address, and the relevant ISP stores logs which could easily be inspected if you had sufficient legal justification to re-link the IP address to the account holder, can their identity be "reasonably ascertained"? If such linking used to be expensive, slow and difficult, but becomes easier, does this change the answer at some point?


  • Personally identifiable information - Wikipedia.
  • Personally identifiable information.
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  • It appears that this definition is significantly broader than the Californian example given above, and thus that Australian privacy law, while in some respects weakly enforced, may cover a broader category of data and information than in some US law. In particular, online behavioral advertising businesses based in the US but surreptitiously collecting information from people in other countries in the form of cookies, bugs, trackers and the like may find that their preference to avoid the implications of wanting to build a psychographic profile of a particular person using the rubric of 'we don't collect personal information' may find that this does not make sense under a broader definition like that in the Australian Privacy Act.

    European data protection law does not utilise the concept of PII, and its scope is instead determined by non-synonymous, wider concept of "personal data". Further examples can be found on the EU privacy website. The Federal Act on Data Protection of 19 June in force since has set up a strict protection of privacy by prohibiting virtually any processing of personal data which is not expressly authorized by the data subjects.

    Additionally, any person may ask in writing a company managing data files the correction or deletion of any personal data. The Privacy Act of Pub. Senate proposed the Privacy Act of , which attempted to strictly limit the display, purchase, or sale of PII without the person's consent. The proposed Social Security Number Protection Act of and proposed Identity Theft Prevention Act of each sought to limit the distribution of an individual's social security number. In forensics , particularly the identification and prosecution of criminals, personally identifiable information is critical in establishing evidence in criminal procedure.

    Criminals may go to great trouble to avoid leaving any PII, [ citation needed ] such as by:. In some professions, it is dangerous for a person's identity to become known, because this information might be exploited violently by their enemies; for example, their enemies might hunt them down or kidnap loved ones to force them to cooperate. Similar identity protection concerns exist for witness protection programs, women's shelters , and victims of domestic violence and other threats.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Personally identifiable information is so pervasive online that even the Pentagon has had trouble keeping it hidden. So is it even possible to remove your personal information from the Internet? Yes, there are steps you can take to make to make your data much harder to find.

    How To Remove Information From Google & Public Records | ReputationDefender

    You may wonder why so much personally identifiable information about you is accessible online. By law, certain types of government records must be made public, with access enshrined in the Freedom of Information Act. Tax liens, registered voter files, business licenses, and property tax assessor files are some of the most common public records, and they serve as a source of information for consumer confidence issues such as the true value of a property or the legitimacy of a business or professional.

    These records are also a powerful way to monitor the actions of government and keep it accountable. Originally, these documents presented very few privacy threats, because they were only accessible by visiting government offices. Since the mids, however, states have worked hard to increase the availability of electronic versions of public records.

    Some states even sell your public records to online people-finder or information brokerage services, who then combine them and add other types of information to make much more detailed portraits of your private life. As concerns with privacy protection and identity theft continue to grow, governments are adding new protections, such as automatic redaction of sensitive information and procedures to have data removed manually. You can take advantage of these protections, but only if you are proactive about it.

    In most cases, the default is to keep all information public.


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