Can you believe how many different state laws we privacy pros need to reference just to determine what is PII? I mean, how many definitions could there be for one short phrase? I am not talking about Pi, the mathematical term, but the acronym for the likewise complex concept of “personally identifiable information.”
The definition of PII is important because it is a trigger for breach notification requirements in 48 U.S. jurisdictions (that’s 46 states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico). But it varies so much that I find myself constantly referencing complex charts, links and statutes to check on its meaning in a given state. Thankfully, the spirit of Halloween has bestowed upon me some inspiration in my search for broader understanding of these definitions. I’ve clustered the 48 definitions of PII into seven groups with similar definitions and dressed them up for Halloween. It’s easier to get acquainted with these definitions when I imagine each cohort as a persona. These personae are the seven PII archetypes.