Protect Your Digital Footprint #AAH
“Digital footprint in very simple terms means the trail of data you leave when using the internet. It includes websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit online. A digital footprint can be used to track a person’s online activities and devices. Internet users create their digital footprint either actively or passively.”
Whenever you use the internet, you leave behind a trail of information known as your digital footprint. A digital footprint grows in many ways – for example, posting on social media, subscribing to a newsletter, leaving an online review, or shopping online.
Sometimes, it’s not always obvious that you are contributing to your digital footprint. For example, websites can track your activity by installing cookies on your device, and apps can collate your data without you knowing it. Once you allow an organization to access your information, they could sell or share your data with third parties. Worse still, your personal information could be compromised as part of a data breach.
Passive digital footprints
A passive digital footprint is created when information is collected about the user without them being aware that this is happening. For example, this occurs when websites collect information about how many times users visit, where they come from, and their IP address. This is a hidden process, which users may not realize is taking place. Other examples of passive footprints include social networking sites and advertisers using your likes, shares, and comments to profile you and target you with specific content.
Why do digital footprints matter?
Digital footprints matter because:
- They are relatively permanent, and once the data is public – or even semi-public, as may be the case with Facebook posts – the owner has little control over how others will use it.
- A digital footprint can determine a person’s digital reputation, which is now considered as important as their offline reputation.
- Employers can check their potential employees’ digital footprints, particularly their social media, before making hiring decisions. Colleges and universities can check their prospective students’ digital footprints before accepting them too.
- Words and photos which you post online can be misinterpreted or altered, causing unintentional offense.
- Content intended for a private group can spread to a broader circle, potentially damaging relationships and friendships.
- Cybercriminals can exploit your digital footprint – using it for purposes such as phishingfor account access or creating false identities based on your data.
So what are some of the specific dangers of a big online footprint?
- It can reveal religious and political affiliations. Separate data points that aren’t significant by themselves — such as your favorite movies or bands — can reveal sensitive information, like your religious or political affiliation.
- Your online reputation can be damaged. Old posts, photos, and videos can be taken out of context and end up damaging your reputation. Plus, some sites create their own internal rating systems based on your actions. For example, Facebook creates “trustworthiness scores” for certain users based on how likely those users are to share false information.
- You could be turned down for a loan. Lenders often look at online information to determine if you’ll pay back a loan on time. But with a large digital footprint, they could be looking at irrelevant or old information.
- You’ll get more spam emails and phone calls. Your information can be shared publicly or sold to third parties, which is one of the reasons you get spam emails and phone calls.
- Potential employers get access to your personal (and outdated) info. A recent study showed that seven out of ten employers research applicants on social networking sites. And 57% rejected a candidate because of information they found online (but wouldn’t be able to legally ask about in an interview).
- Criminals can exploit your personal information. Personal information from data breaches or that you post online is ideal for cybercriminals. With enough info, they can commit identity theft, extortion, bank scams, cyberbullying, or phishing.
For these reasons, it is worth considering what your digital footprint says about you. Many people try to manage their digital footprint by being cautious about their online activities to control the data that can be gathered in the first place.
Watch this video for important safety tips & avoid falling victim to serious cyber crimes.
Stay Aware, Stay Safe!
Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!
PS- we have compiled several of these tips from experts/ orgs on the internet.
ABOUT ‘AKANCHA AGAINST HARASSMENT’
‘Akancha Against Harassment’ is India’s largest social impact initiative against cyber harassment. It was founded by Miss Akancha Srivastava in February 2017. It’s a not-for-profit Section 8 organization.
Honorary Board of advisors
Foundation’s advisory board hosts – Former Special DGP RK Vij (Chattisgarh), ADG Navniet Sekera (Uttar Pradesh), ADG Krishna Prakash (Maharashtra), Dr Poonam Verma (Principal- SSCBS, Delhi University)
Goals of this initiative
The initiative aims at Education, Empowerment & Bridging of general population with the authorities.
Support of the Indian Police for the initiative
Bridging is the most unique attribute of the initiative. We have a host of over 65+ senior police officers from across the country supporting us in content & awareness drive.
This unique strength helps us address any victim complaints that come to us as well as inform people about various measures of law enforcement across the country.
Multilingual AI Chat helpline for cyber safety
We run India’s only private national multilingual AI chat helpline for cyber safety. This helpline is currently available in Hindi & English on our website. It can be accessed from any internet enabled device. You can chat here anonymously, fearlessly.