Internet is like oxygen to digital life. Internet connects people from different corners of a given geographical area. Today without the internet, living is next to impossible. After the impending evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, its usage has been tremendous. How it has altered the world is beyond expectation. Internet provides us access to information in other words we have access to data. Data is ubiquitous, valuable, sensitive, and dangerous in every aspect. Digital Footprint facilitates how our data is being processed, and what are the different measures to take, to avoid inappropriate usage of our data.
What is a Digital Footprint :
Anyone who uses and browses the Internet has a digital footprint. A digital footprint is commonly based on how an individual contributes data to the internet through websites and other sources of medium. Any kind of online activity like sending emails, submitting your personal information to websites, social media interactions leaves a digital footprint or on a device. All the data which is accessed is being stored recorded and even tracked. In other words, your digital identity can be easily discredited and is at risk.
Types of Digital Footprints :
Digital Footprint usually falls into two categories, based on how the information is acquired:-
- Active Digital footprint –
An “Active Digital Footprint” is formed when your data should be submitted for accessing an internet service deliberately. For example, to send an email where the data is exchanged in either way. To submit an online examination application form, to access any e-governance services. In all such cases, an active digital footprint is formed which is unavoidable. This data resides in the data servers for years or more.
- Passive Digital footprint –
If you are accidentally accessing data or accessing a website directly or indirectly then a “Passive Digital Footprint” can be observed. Whenever we are browsing a website, the IP address of your device is recorded by the respective web-server. These details are enough to track your precise Geo-location data and ISP and retrieve much more information. A simple Google search, online shopping activities, search engine histories or even just visiting a website leaves a passive digital footprint beside. Irrespective of the IP address or the device you are accessing from, a passive digital footprint cannot be avoided.
Precautions to limit Digital Footprints :
- Observe your online activity, clear sensitive data.
- Practice using a search engine that does not store your search history.
- Avoid using real data in social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter. Always check your privacy settings.
- Do not give your personal email-id, the phone number to subscribe to any commercial or mailing lists.
- Use encryption methods while storing personal data on USB drives/laptops or any device.
- Be aware of the content you post online.
- The smartest option is to Ensure data is securely transmitted.
- Detect and prevent malicious, fraudulent, invalid, or illegal activity.
Presently, there is no means of leaving zero footprints or isolating your web presence. Accordingly, when it comes to our online identity, we should always protect ourselves, by minimizing our actions on the web, by giving little exposure to our personal data. By taking these little steps towards reducing your digital footprints, one can ensure digital and online security and privacy.