Imagine running your credit report and seeing new accounts that you did not open. Your stomach turns at the thought of knowing someone has stolen from you, and you fear the time and effort it will take to recover from such a catastrophe will be enormous and burdensome.
Most of us take measures in our personal life to prevent our financial and personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Pulling on the card swipe machine at the gas station, changing passwords regularly, and checking credit reports throughout the year are a few ways we protect our information. However, when it comes to protecting personally identifiable information (PII) at work, we continue to fail.
The government can only do so much to protect us and our information. We must take responsibility for all the PII that falls within our hands and protect it like our own. There are many ways we can protect PII, but it takes each one of us making a conscious effort to follow the procedures and processes the Air Force has in place.
Some of those ways include:
• Not collecting PII if not needed
• Storing PII on approved record keeping systems
• Properly discarding PII once no longer needed or has met record disposition
• Encrypt email
Can’t encrypt? Here are few other options:
• Redact or delete the PII, especially if not needed
• Password protect document; followed up with a phone call to recipient to provide password
• Send via Safe Access File Exchange https://safe.amrdec.army.mil/SAFE/
Everyone has a responsibility to safeguard PII and prevent PII breaches – theft, loss, or compromise. All military, civilian, and contractor personnel must remain vigilant in our individual and collective obligations to safeguard, properly control, and manage the handling of PII.
As a reminder, all suspected PII breaches must be reported to the unit privacy monitor for the unit/individual that discovered the breach, or to the base privacy manager within one hour of discovery. This will be accomplished by completing a DD 2959 (Breach Report).
Finally, the best way to protect PII is to know where it is at and contain it in the least amount of places possible.
For much information, contact Hill AFB Privacy Act/FOIA officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-777-3296.