WV Executive Branch Privacy Tip
Many people assume that government records are highly
accurate. Unfortunately, databases of
information are sometimes inaccurate, and it’s important to question all
assumptions of accuracy. Consider the
many reasons why personally identifiable information (PII) may not be accurate:
The PII may have been incorrect when it was collected. For example, a patient telling a nurse about
medications may have misremembered the name of a drug or the prescribed dosage.
The PII may have been captured incorrectly, such as when a data
entry specialist could not distinguish between a “1” and a “7” on a
consumer-completed form. Names and
numbers are also often transposed.
The PII may have become out-of-date over time, such as when people
change addresses or phone numbers, or when they get married or divorced.
The PII may have been incorrectly associated, such as when one
person’s PII is associated with another person who has the same name. Similarly, a person’s Social Security number
may easily become associated with the person’s spouse, if they have joint
accounts or shared benefits plans.
Always consider the accuracy of PII that you are using. If it is important that the PII be accurate
and current, you may want to take steps to verify the accuracy. For example, if medical decisions are going
to be made, you might want to ask a person who is unsure about his meds to call
you back with his prescription bottles in hand, so that you can confirm the
drug name and dosage for the file.
Asking “let me verify those numbers” is also a good way to double-check
Social Security numbers, account numbers, driver’s license numbers, etc.
us to take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of the PII we collect, use
and disclose. Given the possible
consequences for our citizens if PII is not accurate, we must do our best to
ensure the accuracy of the information we use, especially for critical
If you have any concerns about the accuracy of the PII you’re
using, please contact your Privacy Officer to discuss ways to improve the
accuracy and respect individual rights.
Note: Your agency/bureau/department/division may have
specific requirements – always check your policies and procedures. If you
have questions, contact your Privacy Officer.
SEE ALL 2018 PRIVACY TIPS