Digital Footprint

Discover Your Digital Footprint

This definition can be found on Wikipedia

Digital footprint or digital shadow refers to one's unique set of traceable digital activities, actions, contributions and communications that are manifested on the Internet or on digital devices.

There are two main classifications for digital footprints: passive and active. A passive digital footprint is created when data is collected without the owner knowing, whereas active digital footprints are created when personal data is released deliberately by a user for the purpose of sharing information about oneself by means of websites or social media.

  • Passive digital footprints can be stored in many ways depending on the situation. In an online environment a footprint may be stored in an online data base as a "hit". This footprint may track the user IP address, when it was created, and where they came from; with the footprint later being analyzed. In an offline environment, a footprint may be stored in files, which can be accessed by administrators to view the actions performed on the machine, without being able to see who performed them.
  • Active digital footprints can also be stored in many ways depending on the situation. In an online environment, a footprint can be stored by a user being logged into a site when making a post or change, with the registered name being connected to the edit. In an off line environment a footprint may be stored in files, when the owner of the computer uses a keylogger, so logs can show the actions performed on the machine, and who performed them. One of the features of keylogger is to monitor the clipboard for any changes. This may be problematic as the user may copy passwords or take screenshots of sensitive information which will then be logged.

What type of footprint you build will depend on what you post and what you leave behind. Please be mindful that once you post something in the public domain it is virtually impossible to delete it.

Finding your digital footprint is the starting point to discover your digital habits. Do a Google search for your name, then image search. Remember to try alternative spellings of your name.

Keep a log of what you find, delete the accounts you no longer use.