07 Sep 2018
Your digital footprint is everything in the digital world that is about you.
Every day, whether or not you want to, you are leaving behind a trail of data that puts together a picture of who you are online, what you are doing, where you are going, and why you are doing these things. This picture is likely more public than you think. It lets companies better tailor content to your likes and dislikes; it helps employers check your backgrounds before hiring you; it allows advertisers to track your proclivities for purchases; and it allows your potential dates to find out a lot about you before even meeting.
These consequences of leaving digital footprints may not trouble you, if you think ‘you have nothing to hide’. However, don’t confuse privacy with secrecy – you might have nothing to hide, but you would still hesitate before handing over your phone for someone to read your chats or view your photos.
Digital footprints make it easier to uncover these private details. Even if you trust governments and security agencies with this information, and possibly also Google and Facebook, criminals also use information that reveal parts of someone’s personal life to steal from them, blackmail them, or even steal their identity. Although it is not possible to have zero digital footprints, it is possible for you to reduce the number of digital breadcrumbs you leave while traversing online spaces.
What are examples of digital footprints?
Why does my digital footprint matter?
What can I do to leave better digital footprints?
To leave less digital footprints, use encrypted, privacy-friendly app alternatives such as Signal, Telegram, and Wire. Learn more about the different apps available here.