Unveiling the Truth: What’s Not Considered CUI


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one of the most important roles I play is keeping sensitive information secure. But what happens when that sensitive information isn’t even considered Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)? This is a topic that is often overlooked, but it’s one that is critically important for anyone who handles sensitive information. In this article, I’ll be unveiling the truth about what’s not considered CUI and why it’s so important to keep this information protected. So settle in and prepare to be enlightened on a topic that could have a major impact on your organization’s security measures.

What is not an example of CUI?


  • Controlled Unclassified Information, is an important term in the world of cybersecurity. Understanding CUI is crucial in determining how to handle and protect sensitive or confidential information. However, it can be just as important to understand what CUI is not. Here are some examples of what does not classify as CUI:
  • Classified information that is labeled as “classified,” “secret,” or “top-secret” cannot be designated as CUI. These are already classified information categories that fall under a separate category with their own classification system.
  • Anything that is classified as CUI under Executive Order No. 13526 or The Atomic Energy Act cannot be classified as CUI. These types of documents are already considered classified and should fall under the appropriate classification system.
  • Publicly available information does not fall under the CUI classification. This includes information that is not sensitive, confidential or restricted and can be found through public sources.
  • By understanding what does and does not fall under CUI classification, cybersecurity professionals and other individuals involved in the handling of sensitive information can work more efficiently and effectively in protecting the information that requires it.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    – Tip 1: Familiarize yourself with the definition of what constitutes Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) as per the CUI Registry. This will help you understand what types of information fall under this category and what types of information do not.

    – Tip 2: Do not assume that just because information is sensitive or confidential, it automatically falls under the category of CUI. There are specific criteria that must be met for information to be considered CUI.

    – Tip 3: When in doubt, consult with a cybersecurity expert or legal professional to determine whether certain information can be classified as CUI or not.

    – Tip 4: Understand that the definition and scope of CUI can vary depending on the context. For example, information that is considered CUI in one industry or government agency may not be considered as such in another.

    – Tip 5: Keep in mind that the classification of information as CUI is not a one-time decision. It is an ongoing process that requires regular review and assessment of the sensitivity of the information, as well as the risks associated with its exposure.

    Understanding the Definition of CUI

    Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) refers to information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to applicable laws, regulations, or government-wide policies. CUI is not classified information but is still considered sensitive and requires protection from any unauthorized disclosure. It is important to note that not everything falls under the definition of CUI. This article will examine what is not considered CUI.

    Classification Under Executive Order No. 13526

    Executive Order No. 13526 is an official order issued by the President of the United States concerning the classification and handling of national security information. It identifies a variety of information that must be classified, such as information that could cause damage to national security if disclosed. However, just because information is classified under Executive Order No. 13526, it does not mean that it is automatically classified as CUI.

    The Role of The Atomic Energy Act in CUI Classification

    In addition to Executive Order No. 13526, The Atomic Energy Act established classifications for information regarding atomic energy. This act defines a variety of information considered sensitive but does not necessarily make all of that information classified as CUI. Therefore, information classified under The Atomic Energy Act cannot be classified as CUI.

    The Limits of “Classified,” “Secret,” and “Top-Secret” Labels

    It is essential to understand that not all information classified as “classified,” “secret,” or “top-secret” is considered CUI. These labels are typically applied to information that falls under Executive Order No. 13526; however, not all information within that executive order is CUI. Therefore, labeling information as “classified,” “secret,” or “top-secret” is not sufficient in determining whether information is considered CUI.

    Some examples of information that cannot be classified as CUI are:

  • Information classified according to Executive Order No. 12356 or prior orders.
  • Information that would reveal the identity of undercover intelligence agents.
  • Information that has been properly declassified under Executive Order No. 13526 or any prior executive order.

    It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be additional types of information that cannot be classified as CUI.

    Common Misunderstandings About CUI

    One misunderstanding about CUI is that all sensitive information is automatically classified as CUI. As previously stated, CUI is a specific designation for information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to applicable laws, regulations, or government-wide policies. Not all sensitive information falls under this category.

    Another misunderstanding is that CUI is the same as classified information. While CUI is considered sensitive, it is not considered classified information. CUI is information that is controlled but has not been given a formal classification level, such as “secret” or “top-secret.”

    Implications of Misclassifying Information as CUI

    Misclassifying information as CUI can result in several potential consequences. For instance, organizations may face civil or criminal penalties for mishandling sensitive information that is not actually CUI. Additionally, information that is actually CUI may not receive the appropriate protection if organizations are not aware of what information falls under this designation.


    In conclusion, not all sensitive information is classified as CUI. Understanding what is not considered CUI is crucial in protecting sensitive information appropriately. Executive Order No. 13526 and The Atomic Energy Act have specific classifications that need to be followed, and labels such as “classified,” “secret,” or “top-secret” do not necessarily indicate that information is CUI. By properly classifying information, organizations can avoid potential legal and reputational consequences while protecting national security and safeguarding sensitive information.