Managing Privacy Effectively
What can I do to protect personally identifiable information (PII), such as credit card numbers, SSNs and driver’s license numbers?
Privacy is a big job. All employees could possibly access PII – about both co-workers and citizens. Everyone has to work hard to protect that PII at all times.
The privacy policies and procedures provide the rules for using and sharing PII. But some common sense can help you avoid common problems.
- Be organized PII is contained in so many documents, and on almost every computer and storage device. To help prevent losses, keep careful track of documents and storage media. If something does get lost, you’ll also realize it sooner and be able to react quickly.
- Be careful Most security breaches happen because of a simple mistake. For example, it’s very easy to put the wrong address on a label, or the wrong label on a package. Double check the address!
- Be skeptical Don’t be afraid to ask questions if someone asks you to use or share PII in a new way. If someone tells you they’ve deleted the PII from a shared flash drive, check it before you toss the drive in your pocket.
- Be honest Everyone makes mistakes. If you make a mistake with PII, or if you’ve misplaced PII, contact your supervisor. They can work with your department’s privacy officer to recover the PII and address any possible harm.
- Learn from the mistakes Everyone makes mistakes, but if we make the same mistakes over again, it shows that we’re not learning. If you have a problem with a certain process, your supervisor or privacy officer can help you find a way to minimize the likelihood of repeated incidents.
Note: Your department/agency/division/ bureau may have specific requirements – always check your policies and procedures. If you have questions, contact your Privacy Official.