Stop Identity Theft with Secure PII Redaction Software

Accidental information leaks can leave you vulnerable to identity theft. Learn why secure PII redaction software is essential for compliance and privacy.

Data is booming, and so are threats to your personal info (PII)! The exponential growth of data has sparked a significant rise in cyber threats targeting Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Organizations, both private and public, are scrambling to secure data, and PII redaction software has emerged as a critical tool to safeguard sensitive data in the digital landscape.

Data breaches are no longer headlines - they're a present reality for businesses worldwide, with a projected $9.5 trillion blow on the global economy in 2024.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization, there were already 2,116 reported data compromises in the first nine months of 2023, marking a record year for data compromises.

Data exposure incidents have impacted organizations of all sizes, shapes, and sectors, resulting in significant financial losses. IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023 reveals that the average data breach cost for US businesses in 2023 was USD 4.45 million, marking a 15% increase over the past three years. 

Notably, according to Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report, 75% of such incidents involved the human element, which includes errors, social engineering attacks, or misuse.

Even more concerning is the lack of clarity surrounding how these breaches occur. Whether it's the Comcast hack, exposing the personal information of millions of Xfinity customers, or the incident involving T-Mobile, which exposed data on 37 million customers, none of the 1400 public breaches offer an explanation for how the data was compromised in the first place.

As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, traditional cybersecurity measures may not be enough. With 11% of publicly traded companies facing data compromises in the previous year, organizations need a comprehensive security strategy.  This strategy should encompass a range of solutions to safeguard data in all its forms.

This is where comprehensive and secure PII redaction software comes in. A comprehensive PII redaction software goes beyond simply helping you redact sensitive data before exposure.  It also ensures your data is stored and shared securely within the software itself, utilizing industry-standard security protocols.

However, to make the best use of a PII redacting software, a clear understanding of PII is essential. Let's explore the PII and its types to ensure you can effectively safeguard sensitive data.

Understanding PII  

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is any information that can be used on its own or with other relevant information to identify a person. PII can be labeled into two types that are sensitive and non-sensitive.  

 image showing different aspects of an individual’s privacy

Sensitive PII

Sensitive PII data represents data that can potentially harm an individual in case a security breach happens.  

This category encompasses direct or unique identifiers that can be used to uniquely identify data. These are often numeric in nature and include data such as;
  • Full name
  • Credit card number
  • Social security number
  • Financial information
  • Driver’s license
  • Medical records
  • Email address
  • Passport number and other private information

Organizations often need to share their clients’ data for improving services, marketing insights, fraud prevention or compliance with legal requirements. To safeguard their employees’ identities, most companies prefer anonymization measures.

Among the best practices for anonymization, redaction stands out, enabling companies to conceal PII while disclosing only necessary details.

For instance, a hospital might share anonymized (read: redacted) patient data with a research institute. This data would exclude names, birthdates, and social security numbers, but retain details relevant to the research, like age range, diagnoses, and treatment outcomes.

Non-Sensitive PII

Non-sensitive PII comprises quasi-identifiers, information that alone cannot identify a person, can become privacy concerns when combined with other relevant data,

readily available through public sources like the internet, corporate directories, or phonebooks.  

Examples include;

  • Gender
  • Zip code
  • Race
  • Date of birth
  • Religion
  • Place of birth

It’s, however, important to note that when coupled with other PII, quasi-identifiers may reveal an individual’s identity.

Therefore, when using quasi-identifiers that collectively have the capacity to identify individuals, employing redaction techniques becomes imperative.

The High Cost of Exposed PII: Identity Theft on the Rise

Organizations handling highly sensitive data, like healthcare providers, financial institutions, and federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), face a significant risk of data breaches. These breaches expose individuals' Personally Identifiable Information (PII), making them vulnerable to identity theft.

Identity thieves exploit this stolen data by hacking into computer systems and gaining access to personal files. This information can then be used for various fraudulent activities, such as opening bank accounts, registering SIM cards, or filing false claims.

The scope of the problem is alarming. Recent data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shows a 14% increase in fraud losses compared to the previous year, with consumers reporting over $10 billion lost in 2023.

Similarly, the FBI reports that scams pretending to be from the government or tech support cost the US population nearly $1.3 billion in 2023.

These scams often succeed by tricking victims into revealing personal information (PII) such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, or login credentials. highlighting the continual threat of identity theft and its profound societal

impact on individuals and society.

Protecting Privacy: Why Secure PII Redaction Software Matters

The ever-growing risk of data breaches exposes sensitive personal information (PII), making individuals vulnerable to identity theft.  

To combat this threat, organizations handling large data sets need to prioritize secure redaction with a premium PII redaction software that allows you to redact PII from a multitude of data mediums. 

An image showing redaction of faces from a video 

What is PII Redaction? 

PII redaction involves censoring specific data points within documents, effectively anonymizing the information and safeguarding individuals' identities.  

This practice helps maintain privacy and facilitates data segregation, ensuring sensitive data is secure and segregated from the rest of the data. 

Compliances Demanding PII Redaction 

Redacting PII has now become a requirement under most regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) HIPPA and Rule 8.83 Section (d) (2) of the California Rules of Court (CRoC) 

In addition to document redaction, these compliances also necessitate video redaction, i.e. redacting sensitive information from video files, such as virtual  meetings and CCTV footage, before presenting them in court.

You can find more details on GDPR redaction requirements in our dedicated blog post: GDPR Requirements for Redaction.

Ensuring Compliance

To comply with GDPR, organizations need to ensure they’re using secure and reliable software for data handling. Basic online tools can lead to data breaches and potential legal implications 

Failing to comply with data privacy regulations can result in significant financial penalties. As a recent example, Meta faced a record €1.2 billion fine in May 2023 for violating European Union (EU) data protection rules, exceeding the previous record of $887 million imposed on Amazon for similar violations in Luxembourg. 

This serves as a stark reminder for organizations that handle PII. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is particularly stringent when it comes to protecting consumer data privacy.  

Forbes recommend companies to practice comprehensive data audit, and establishing clear policies for both internal and external data sharing, including those with partners.

Implementing best practices for secure data transfer and robust redaction techniques are essential to safeguard sensitive information.

Why You Need a Secure PII Redaction Software

Simply blacking out information with any online tool isn't enough. Redaction failures can lead to data breaches and legal repercussions.

Therefore, selecting PII redaction software requires ensuring it provides maximum security, aligning with best practices outlined by Forbes.

Here are some examples that illustrate the importance of secure PII redaction software:

The European Commission and AstraZeneca Vaccine Contract

Not so long ago in 2021, there was this big mix-up involving the European Commission and AstraZeneca's vaccine contract.  The European Union released a heavily redacted version of their coronavirus vaccine agreement with AstraZeneca. While aiming for transparency, their redaction attempts were ineffective, exposing the very information they intended to conceal. 

They blacked out all the commercially sensitive details in the 41-page contract document, however, the redacted sections were easily accessible through the document's bookmark bar in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Anyone who knew how to use Adobe Reader could see everything! 

IBM Lawsuit:

Another example comes from a lawsuit against IBM for alleged age discrimination. 

Did you know a simple redaction error landed IBM in hot water? During a lawsuit alleging age discrimination, the company's attempt to redact sensitive data backfired spectacularly. acing accusations of age discrimination against older workers, IBM fumbled attempts to redact sensitive information using faulty software.  This poor choice led to the exposure of email addresses and confidential documents, essentially proving the very allegations against them. 

This case serves as a reminder for organizations handling sensitive information – secure redaction tools are not optional, they're essential. 

Choosing the right PII redaction software is crucial. Opt for solutions that leverage cutting-edge technology and guarantee absolute confidentiality. Remember, incomplete or poorly redacted documents remain vulnerable to breaches. Image showing document redaction  

VIDIZMO Redactor as a Secure PII Redaction Software 

Want to get your business compliant with privacy laws quickly and redact PII with the help of AI? Look no further as VIDIZMO Redactor helps you comply with regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, California State Bills 748 and others. 

It allows you to automatically redact PII through AI thus saving time and resources. Pretty helpful for businesses and law enforcement agencies. 

 Image showing object detection and redaction in VIDIZMO redactor 

Here’s a quick look at some of the powerful features that makes VIDIZMO Redactor a secure PII redaction software;

Automatic Detection: Reduce your redaction time by using VIDIZMO Redactor as your most reliable video redaction software with automatic face, object, license plate, and weapon detection and tracking.

Flexible Redaction Options: Redact flexibly with various methods (blackbox, pixelate, blur) for hiding detected elements.

Custom Redaction Rules: Define text patterns and regular expressions to redact custom information from documents and audio files.

Bulk Redaction: Saves time by redacting PII from large volumes of files at once. In addition to documents, this feature allows you to use VIDIZMO redactor as an audio redaction software, where you can redact specific words from multiple audios simultaneously.

AI- Enhanced Search: Locates PII by keyword, pattern, or spoken word. You can redact a specific word or phrase from a single or multiple documents or audios simultaneously in more than 50 languages.

OCR Redaction: Detect and redact handwritten text from documents, images and videos.

Secure Storage: Ensures data privacy with industry-standard encryption, access controls & chain of custody reports.

Start your free trial today to redact PDFs, videos, images, scanned documents, and more.



Some other features that make VIDIZMO Redactor one of the best redacting software currently available include, automatic and manual redaction, face and object detection (with confidence score to help you determine detection accuracy), object tracking in videos, automatic transcription and translation, facial recognition, facial attribution (age, race, gender), video editing, 255+  file format support, limited access (expirable URLs), configurable retention, IP and domain restrictions and more! 

Learn More About Redaction In VIDIZMO

In addition to the AI-powered redactor, VIDIZMO also offers EnterpriseTube, a YouTube-like video content management system and VIDIZMO DEMS, a CJIS-compliant digital evidence management system 

Want to learn more about VIDIZMO’s cutting edge technology solutions, for organizing, securing and sharing your organization’s digital content? We can offer a tailored solution for redaction to meet your specific requirements!

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People Also Ask

1. What is PII and why is it important to protect it?

PII stands for Personally Identifiable Information. This includes any data that can be used to identify a specific person, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, names, and email addresses. Protecting PII is crucial to prevent identity theft and other forms of fraud. 

2. What is PII redaction software and how does it work?

PII redaction software helps you identify and remove sensitive information from documents, videos, audios and other files. VIDIZMO Redactor can automatically detect PII based on pre-defined rules or allow for manual redaction. Redaction methods can include black boxing, pixelation, or blurring the information. 

3. Why is secure PII redaction software important?

Basic online tools or improper redaction techniques can leave data vulnerable. Secure PII redaction software ensures complete removal of information while maintaining industry-standard security protocols to prevent accidental exposure. 

4. What are the benefits of using secure PII redaction software?

  • Compliance with data privacy regulations: Secure PII redaction helps organizations comply with regulations like GDPR and HIPAA, which mandate data protection.
  • Reduced risk of identity theft: By removing PII from documents and videos, you minimize the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
  • Improved data security: Secure PII redaction software offers features like encryption and access controls to safeguard data during storage and sharing.

5. What are some examples of how secure PII redaction software can be used?
Businesses can redact PII from customer records before sharing them with third-party vendors. 
Healthcare providers can redact patient information from medical records before sharing them for research purposes. 
Law enforcement agencies can redact sensitive information from video footage before presenting it in court.

Posted by Sania Abdul Bari

Sania Abdul Bari is a Product Marketing Strategist at VIDIZMO and an expert in redaction technologies. She is actively engaged in researching and analyzing technological trends in the redaction market landscape. For any queries, feel free to reach out to

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