Don’t look now, kids, but we have two more abbreviations to worry about: PII (personally identifiable information) and GRC (governance, risk management, and compliance). I don’t mean to suggest we should be worried about what they denote. Rather, I mean the quotient of hyperinformationalized nonsense is increased by two.

Three attendant questions:

  1. How many abbreviations and acronyms can we be expected to remember?
  2. How many of them can we be expected to trouble ourselves about?
  3. Why is it a safe bet that if someone can dream up an abbreviation, someone else can find a way to get government involved?

Putting aside my aversion to the government’s incessant sticking of its nose under the tent, what else could we possibly count on — other than a quintessentially torpid bureaucratic monolith — to render a concept like PII with such elegant, eloquent clarity?

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) information about a person that contains some unique identifier, including but not limited to name or Social Security Number, from which the identity of the person can be determined. OMB Memorandum M-10-23 (June 25, 2010), updated the term “PII”: “The definition of PII is not anchored to any single category of information or technology. Rather, it requires a case-by-case assessment of the specific risk that an individual can be identified. In performing this assessment, it is important for an agency to recognize that non-PII can become PII whenever additional information is made publicly available — in any medium and from any source — that, when combined with other available information, could be used to identify an individual.

It’s poetry, I tell you. Pure poetry; although, it does leave me feeling a tad uneasy about my non-PII becoming PII, especially if it happens when I’m sleeping, on vacation, having an out-of-body experience, or under heavy recreational sedation.

As for GRC, fuggedaboudit. The bad news is government hasn’t made it impenetrably circumlocutory yet. The good news is it’s already sufficiently obtuse that Wikipedia goes on about it almost interminably.

But fear not. As long as we get our PII under GRC PDQ, we won’t be SOL.

Ya gotta hope.

Image by d97jro, courtesy of