Privacy Impact Assessments | Part 3: Redact PII and Sensitive Information with CaseGuard

Privacy Impact Assessments | Part 3:  Redact PII and Sensitive Information with CaseGuard

In the final piece of our three-part series on privacy impact assessments (PIAs), we’ll be covering how you can use CaseGuard’s software to help obfuscate sensitive information. You’ll learn:

  • How to redact and remove personally identifiable information (PII) in a PDF
  • How to blur and pixelate faces, screens, license plates, and backgrounds in an image or video
  • How to disguise a voice recording to protect the identity of a speaker
  • How to mute and bleep audio in a recording or video

We’ll also provide examples of common types of PII and protected health information (PHI), as well as sensitive and confidential information. Because organizations in law enforcement, government, healthcare, transportation, security, and financial services frequently have a massive volume of privileged or confidential information to redact, catching every instance of a piece of data takes time and effort. Reviewers have to ensure all of the terms that can be associated with sensitive or privileged material aren’t included. By describing all of the variations of information that could be considered identifying or sensitive, we hope to make it easier for you to remove any identifying details before releasing your video, audio, image, or PDF files.

Want to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series? You can!

Examples of Personally Identifiable Information

PII can be broadly defined as any information about an individual that can be used to identify or trace an individual’s identity⁠— as well as any additional information that is linked or linkable to an individual. Examples of personally identifiable information (PII) can include personal characteristics such as:

  • Age
  • Biometrics information such as fingerprints, DNA, retinal scans, and voiceprints
  • Date of birth
  • Distinguishing features
  • Driver’s license number
  • Educational information
  • Email address
  • Employment information
  • Ethnicity
  • Eye color
  • Financial account or credit card number and related PIN number
  • Gang affiliation
  • Gender
  • Hair color
  • Height
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Name, including a full name, maiden name, or alias
  • Phone number
  • Photographic images, particularly of the face
  • Place of birth
  • Race
  • Religious affiliation
  • Scars
  • Sexual orientation
  • Social security number
  • Tattoos
  • Weight

In some cases, PII can also include descriptions of events or points in time, such as information or documentation relating to an arrest report or police report. When evaluating PII, it’s essential to remember that even if individual pieces of PII seem harmless, when they’re combined, they could be used to identify an individual.

Examples of Protected Health Information

Protected Health Information generally refers to any health information that’s used by a healthcare provider or insurer, as well as any entity that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). HIPPA is a complex piece of legislation to go into, but generally speaking, you can expect that the following identifiers are PHI:

  • Account numbers
  • Any unique identifying number or code
  • Biometric identifiers, including finger and voiceprints
  • Certification or license numbers
  • Dates
  • Device identifiers and serial numbers
  • Electronic mail addresses
  • Fax Numbers
  • Full face photographs
  • Geographic data, including postal addresses
  • Health plan beneficiary numbers
  • License plate numbers or other vehicle identifiers, including serial numbers
  • Medical record numbers
  • Name of relative
  • Names
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Telephone numbers
  • Web URLs

Examples of Sensitive and Confidential Information

Depending on your organization, you may have sensitive data or confidential information that isn’t PII, but would nevertheless be damaging if released in an unredacted form. Examples include:

  • Trade secrets
  • Company financial information, including balances and stock holdings
  • Information about ongoing law enforcement investigations
  • Information with a national security classification level Intellectual property, including schematics, product specifications, competitive research, and software code
  • Operational and inventory data, such as your sales figures, or supplier information

How CaseGuard Makes it Easy to Redact and Remove Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in a PDF

PII can easily be removed from PDF files with CaseGuard. You can use CaseGuard to automatically analyze your PDF documents to find any word sentence or pattern, including emails, phone numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and more. CaseGuard makes it simple to redact any or all pieces of information with one click, meaning your redacted document is available in seconds.

How to Blur and Pixelate Faces, Screens, License Plates, and Backgrounds in an Image or Video in CaseGuard

With CaseGuard, you can automatically pixelate and redact cellphones, license plates, and faces in traffic stop videos. CaseGuard can also detect and redact laptops, people, and cellphone screens. In this video, you’ll see how CaseGuard video redaction software automatically scans your video, detecting and redacting all faces, cellphones, computer screens, and license plates in a few clicks.

How to Quickly Disguise a Voice Recording to Protect the Identity of a Speaker in CaseGuard

To protect the identity of those giving testimony, you might need to resample their voices so others can still hear what they have to say without recognizing their identity. In this video, you’ll see how easy it is to change a voice wotj CaseGuard.

How to Mute and Bleep Audio in a Recording or Video in CaseGuard

CaseGuard’s audio tools give you the ability to analyze any media file and automatically redact people’s names, addresses, phone numbers, or any other personal information. Muting, bleeping, and resampling can be done on the fly.