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Potential Consequences of Not Protecting PII

For DHS:

  • Loss of public trust
  • Increased Congressional oversight
  • Loss of funding

For the victim:

  • Identity theft
  • Loss of benefits
  • Embarrassment

For the person causing the privacy incident:

  • Counseling and training
  • Loss of employment
  • Civil & criminal penalties
Privacy Man holding a newspaper with a concerned look on his face


If we fail to protect PII, there can be severe consequences for everyone.

Most privacy incidents occur when employees mishandle PII due to a lack of awareness of PII safeguards, and when that occurs, they receive counseling and additional training.

But we have also experienced intentional privacy incidents at DHS. For example, a FEMA employee was sentenced to 5 years in prison for stealing the identities of more than 200 disaster survivors who had applied for government assistance.

Last Published Date: January 4, 2021

Privacy at DHS

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