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 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.
Digital life refers to the way individuals engage with technology and digital media in their daily lives. This includes using social media, online shopping, streaming videos and music, online banking, and more. Digital life has become an integral part of modern life, and many people depend on it for work, education, and social interaction.
- Digital footprints, on the other hand, refer to the traces that individuals leave online through their digital activities. These footprints can include information about a person’s browsing history, social media activity, online purchases, and other digital interactions. Digital footprints can be intentional or unintentional and can be used by others to gain information about a person’s interests, behaviors, and personal details.
- It is important to be aware of both your digital life and digital footprints. Digital life can provide many benefits, but it is important to be mindful of the risks and challenges associated with online activities. This includes protecting personal information, managing online privacy, and avoiding scams and other online threats.
- Digital footprints can also have both positive and negative consequences. For example, digital footprints can be used by potential employers or universities to assess a person’s character and suitability for a position or program. However, digital footprints can also be used by cybercriminals to steal personal information or by malicious actors to spread false or damaging information.
Overall, it is important to be aware of both your digital life and digital footprints and take steps to manage them effectively. This includes being mindful of online behavior, protecting personal information, and using strong passwords and security measures to keep online accounts secure.
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.
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