Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Database Systems

pp 1471-1472

Individually Identifiable Data

  • Chris CliftonAffiliated withPurdue University


Personally identifiable data; Personal data


Individually Identifiable Data is data that identifies the person that the data is about, or that can be used to identify that individual. This generally refers to data that contains either an identification number, or factors relating to physical, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity that could be used to link the data to an individual. Regulatory requirements for privacy generally apply (only) to individually identifiable data.

Key Points

Individually Identifiable Data is a legal term (e.g., personal data in the EU Privacy Directive [1], or Individually identifiable health information in U.S. Healthcare Laws [2]); in general privacy laws only protect individually identifiable data. Unfortunately, it is not clearly defined in technical terms. Anonymous data is presumably not individually identifiable, but what about k-anonymous data? (Presumably data is individually identifiable if K = 1, ...

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