October 24, 2007

Personally Identifiable Information in DOE Technical Reports

Sponsored Projects Office staff recently received a reminder from the U.S. Department of Energy that Protected Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is not to be included in any technical report submitted to DOE. DOE has noticed that some scientific and technical reports submitted by award recipients using the DOE Energy Link System has had Protected PII included.

If you have already submitted a report to DOE containing Protected PII, DOE asks that you contact your DOE contracting officer immediately. Technical reports submitted to the DOE Energy Link System that were marked as publicly releasable “unlimited announcement” will be made public through DOE public web systems.

Public PII versus Protected PII

PII is any information about an individual which can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity. Some information that is considered to be PII is available in public sources such as telephone books, public websites, university listings, etc. This type of information is considered to be Public PII and includes, for example, first and last name, address, work telephone number, email address, home telephone number, and general educational credentials.

In contrast, Protected PII is defined as an individual’s first name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of types of information, including, but not limited to, social security number, passport number, credit card numbers, clearances, bank numbers, biometrics, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, criminal, medical and financial records, educational transcripts, etc.