Every website you visit, every app you use, and every form you complete online generates a digital footprint. These actions don’t mean anything on their own; however, combined, they can create a clear image of who you are. You provide businesses with all the information they require about you by using your devices, making purchases, and browsing the web.
What percentage of personal information in your online footprint should you be concerned about? When is it necessary to employ a data removal service if you want to clean it up or erase it?
What Is a Digital Footprint?
Online activity leaves behind a digital trail of information called an “online footprint,” often referred to as a “digital footprint” or “digital shadow.”
Numerous platforms hold thousands of data elements that make up your internet footprint. Your footprint includes every Google search, Facebook like, and Amazon buy.
These facts don’t mean anything on their own. But when they are put together, they show a startlingly accurate portrait of who you are.
Everyone who has ever used the internet has some form of digital footprint. You have experienced such results if you have ever looked for a product on one website and then subsequently seen advertisements for it on another.
Look at what Google knows about you based on your search history to get an idea of your online footprint.
At times, it can feel unsettling. What information about you can thus be found in your online footprint?
Information Embedded in Your Digital Footprint
Everyone leaves a different digital imprint depending on how they use the internet. But generally speaking, there are two internet footprints to be mindful of.
The information you share makes up your active digital footprint, including updating your status on social media or adding a YouTube video.
The data that makes up passive digital footprints is information you may not even be aware is being tracked. For instance, practically every website you visit gathers data on your computer, location, IP address, links you click on, and how long you spend on a particular page.
How Safe Is Your Online Footprint?
There are pros and cons to leaving a digital trail. It’s simple to become preoccupied with the possible risks (such as fraud or identity theft) and the unsettling thought that strangers know so much about you.
However, there are other advantages to having an internet presence, such as:
- Better suggestions: Netflix recommendations and Facebook’s suggested friends feature are powered based on your internet presence;
- Faster searching: Thanks to your digital footprint, you can quickly return to a website even if you forget its name;
- Personal shoppers: E-commerce sites can better suggest goods you’ll truly enjoy, thanks to your digital footprint.
Your digital footprint makes online shopping and browsing more convenient. But in exchange for that superior experience, what do you give up?
Most activities you carry out online leave traces behind that may benefit or harm you in the long run. By taking control of your online presence, you can control the amount of personal information you leave behind.