CIO: Unencrypted personally identifiable information in email will be blocked beginning June 15th

Page header - CIO update

Beginning June 15, 2019, USDA email containing unencrypted Personally Identifiable Information (PII) sent outside of the USDA will be blocked.

What you need to do

Microsoft Office Message Encryption is an easy, compliant way to send PII outside of the USDA for business purposes. The following two documents explain how to send, receive, and open encrypted emails:

Additional information for Office Message Encryption and all USDA O365 services can be found at:


What is “PII”?

Examples of sensitive PII are:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Tax Identification Numbers
  • Credit Card Information
  • Passport Information
  • Birth Dates

Please note that names and work addresses in signature blocks are not considered sensitive PII, and they will not cause an issue when sending email.


Help is Available

For technical help call the Customer Help Desk at 1-866-945-1354 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339), start a chat with an agent, or type the full KBA number or “keywords” in double quotes into the Search box on the Customer Help Desk site to find helpful knowledge management documents.


The CIO is committed to providing reasonable accommodation in all of its activities, services, and programs for individuals with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodation in accessing and using the information contained in this email, please email CIO News.

Visit the CIO News Archives for past emails.