Digital Footprint

Digital footprints are the unique, traceable online activities a user carries. The footprint can be active, that is, social media posts, sign-ups, and any other intentional interaction with the internet. It can also be passive, meaning that it is those activities you do not actively participate in, like cookie data.

A digital footprint can be a good thing, it is how users can build an online reputation and spread their presence and influence.

However, a digital footprint also poses a genuine privacy threat, as it allows the user to receive tailored ads and other privacy risks.

Examples of digital footprint data

  • IP address: Platforms can track and identify your location using your IP address. 
  • Tracking cookies: Websites are known to download these tracking cookies that help analyze and monitor user behavior.
  • Geolocation data: Apps will often ask for you to enable location so they can determine your physical location even if you are on the go. 
  • Online activities: Your browser logs your online activities in its history. This history helps reveal your online habits, including the kind of websites you prefer and how often you visit them.
  • Online purchases: The preferences that form your online shopping presence also go into defining your digital footprint, aiding in the creation of customized ads. 
  • Online membership: The kind of accounts you open and on which platform also contribute to your digital footprint. 
  • Social media posts: Your social media posts, the content as well as the frequency with which you post also make up a good chunk of your digital footprint.
  • Content uploads: The type of digital content you upload, the frequency of the uploads, and on which platforms also count as a digital footprint.