A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is a process which assists organizations in identifying and minimizing the privacy risks of new projects or policies.
A Privacy Impact Assessment is a type of impact assessment conducted by an organization (typically, a government agency or corporation with access to a large amount of sensitive, private data about individuals in or flowing through its system). The organization audits its own processes and sees how these processes affect or might compromise the privacy of the individuals whose data it holds, collects, or processes. PIAs have been conducted by various sub-agencies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and by many others.
A PIA is designed to accomplish three goals:
- Ensure conformance with applicable legal, regulatory, and policy requirements for privacy;
- Determine the risks and effects;
- Evaluate protections and alternative processes to mitigate potential privacy risks.
A privacy impact report seeks to identify and record the essential components of any proposed system containing significant amounts of personal information and to establish how the privacy risks associated with that system can be managed. A PIA will sometimes go beyond an assessment of a “system” and consider critical “downstream” effects on people who are affected in some way by the proposal.