A digital footprint represents a trail of data that people create while using the internet,
which includes emails sent, information submitted online, and websites accessed (Internet
Society, 2016). Also, data is left behind when someone posts information about another
individual on a digital forum (CPNI, 2016). The passive digital footprint is data that individuals
leave online unintentionally. For instance, when a user visits a website automatically, the web
server identifies the IP address. It is easier to identify the user's location and the internet service
provider (ISP) through the IP address. Search engines save the search history, which is also a
passive digital footprint. On the other hand, an active digital footprint defines data that people
submit intentionally. For example, emails send are active digital footprints since another person
can see the data. Individuals can expand their digital footprint through posting on social media
and publishing a blog. This paper aims at discussing the privacy and protection related to a
It is arduous to give the exact amount of information that individuals leave while
performing an online action (Internet Society, 2016). The digital footprint is more public than
people can imagine, which raises questions on privacy issues related to how the information is
used. A major privacy issue is that online companies use the personal data collected for their
advantage. For instance, companies use the data to identify the individual's background,
interests, characters, and activities. Thus, the companies recommend products and services to
people based on their background. When companies use the digital footprint for their
advertisement, it is a breach of privacy. On the same note, the passive digital print should not be
implemented without the owner's consent. Apart from companies using the data, hackers can
access private information that undermines an individual's privacy. In general, the digital
footprint can be utilized by companies and cybercriminals, which violates privacy.
I spend most of my time online, which puts my personal information at risk. Thus, it is
evident that most of my information is out there. I know some of my health records have left a
digital footprint in the context of websites as I always purchase drugs online. On social media, I
have shared my pictures, the schools I have studied in, my family, and my hobbies. The website I
deployed for my review is 192.com. I expected my location to be online, but I did not expect my
telephone number. My telephone number is sensitive data and may be at risk online. In addition,
I expected to find my Gmail and Linked details online.
Each individual using the internet should have a view of how their data is shared. There
should be policies that protect individual's data online. Hence the policies will protect users from
violation of privacy from companies and social media apps. The companies that collect
information online while people visit the sites should not use it for their advantage. Before
implementing the data for their commercial purposes, they should inform individuals. As many
people are not familiar with technological knowledge, companies should inform people that they
are collecting the data. Hence, people will know that their data is being collected and choose
what to share. In this context, technological education will help people know their privacy rights.
The websites and apps should prompt the user when collecting the data.
The EU and the U.S have a difference when it comes to data protection and privacy laws.
AS for the United States, the integrity of data is considered a commercial asset. The EU
prioritizes individual rights compared to businesses' interests and utilizes the GDPR to protect
people. The GDPR represents a set of rules deployed to give individuals more control of their
personal information. The main objective of the GDPR is to ensure that both businesses and
citizens benefit from the digital economy. As for my privacy and protection, I believe that my
information should not be used without my consent. Also, the companies should gather my
personal information legally. For protection, I believe that websites and social media sites should
protect my data from unauthorized access. While data breaches can be inevitable, the
government should implement policies that protect individuals' sensitive data. External audits
should be carried out to ensure that companies are not using citizen data for other purposes.
People can control and manage the digital footprint through various measures.
Individuals should avoid oversharing their information online. Social media is creating a large
database through the information that people share (Edurevolution, 2016). Digital tools can be
implemented to manage the digital footprint, such as VPN. Before agreeing to any terms and
conditions online, it is efficient to skim. People can safeguard their digital footprint by ensuring
they do not install cookies from websites that might track the browsing history. I will take further
control of my digital footprint. I will stop sharing too much information online and use tools like
VPN. I will make it a norm to always skim through the terms and conditions before installing
anything on my device.
Digital footprint exposes the personal information of an individual. People should ensure
that they control the digital footprint to prevent a privacy breach. Companies should only gather
the data through legal means and should not deploy it for malicious purposes.
CPNI. ( 2016). My Digital Footprint: A guide to digital footprint discovery and management.
Edurevolution. (2016, April 13). Managing Your Digital Footprint [Video]. You Tube.
Internet Society. (2016, January 12). Four Reasons to Care About Your Digital Footprint
[Video]. You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro_LlRg8rGg&t=338s