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Is YOUR Digital Footprint Being Tracked

The term "Digital Footprint" is understandable (or makes sense) if you try to see it in your mind. Picture you footprints in the snow leaving from your house.

You walk down the street and look back.

You along with everyone else in the neighborhood could see where you are going, have been or coming from.

This term is similar and are just alike.

From the exact moment you go online and navigate your way to your favorite website, everything you have done to get there was tracked.

Digital Footprint: video conferencing

This includes the site you started from, the sites you have visited, to the site that you finally landed on. What does this have to do with Video Conferencing?

Every time you talk to someone through (web based) video conferencing, your actions are tracked. This tracking behavior could be done for one of many reasons.

One of the reasons could be for marketing purposes. If the marketers study your footprints on the web, it leads to them knowing your behavior while on line.

Digital Footprint and Video Conferencing

If you are video conferencing with someone through a web based system (a website that you just enter your username and password and start chatting) your digital footprint is tracked.

This is used to market or advertise other video conferencing services to you. However, it can be used against you. It can gather info about you such as usernames, passwords, etc.

It can even gather private information about you and the person you communicate with on video. Private Investigators can also use this information to incriminate you or complete an investigation if they need evidence in certain actions they suspect you of.

Would you like to find your digital footprint?

Many out there have access to find your digital footprint. Would you like to know how to find your OWN digital footprint as well as find out how the internet sees you?

Well there are several site's that are available at your disposal. Some show photos of your involvement with certain social networks and others may show your name along with your involvement with other online programs:

  • personas.media.mit.edu
  • spezify.com
  • pipl.com

What is a Digital Tattoo

A digital tattoo is somewhat a confirmation of your identity or how the internet sees you.

Let's take a real tattoo on a person's body for example. If you see a person with tattoo referencing basketball logos or equipment on his body I might assume they're a basketball fan or play basketball.

If someone has tattoos all over their body representing people in their family, I might assume this person has close ties with their family or is family oriented.
Digital Footprint: spying

Let's say for example, they see you looking for basketball sneakers on eBay 3 times a day. Your digital tattoo (identity) may be an athletic shoe fanatic.

The next time you do a search you may see anywhere from 1 to 3 banner ads for bidding or auction sites (because they saw you search on eBay).

You might see two or more ads from Nike promoting their products (because you looked for sneakers).

You may even see advertisements for (or from) the search engine you used.

If you used Yahoo, you may see an ad for Flickr. If you used Google you may see an ad for Adwords or Adsense.

How to Minimize your Digital Footprint

Even though you may not be doing anything illegal you still may be uncomfortable having every movement on the internet tracked. However, marketers aren't the only one's on the internet tracking your movements.

There are internet hackers and people who are guilty of identity theft who also track your every move on the internet to do nothing but cause harm to you and your family. Tracking tools named "cookies" are placed on your site that take note of your every move while surfing the net.

This would give more information than you think to unsuspecting individuals such as your name, birthday, or even credit card numbers. It may also track the IP address of the person you may have been video conferencing with.

A few ways to minimize your Digital Footprint are:

  • It is recommended to update your passwords frequently

  • Run anti-virus software on your computer / laptop. This may find cookies and viruses that are risky to your safety

  • If you get an email form an unknown source, do not open it

  • Delete your browsing history

  • Rarely click on links that are in web pages. If you know the web address, type it in the address bar

  • Choose private browsing option in your tools bar

  • Any session that required you to "login", make sure that you log out.

  • Make sure the option box that keeps you logged in is unchecked

  • Passwords must be complex, with 10 or more characters, and include special characters

  • Avoid using any personal information within the password.

These ways may not totally take the risk out of people tracking your moves online but it will minimize your digital footprint.

People who are more likely to be victims by way of digital footprint are of the digital citizenship.

Digital Citizenship

Those who are of the Digital Citizenship (for lack of better words) live on the computer.

These are people who use the computer for everyday tasks. They work on the computer, go shopping on the computer, buy food on the computer, invest on the computer, etc.

However, it is more involved than it may seem. Some of them know nothing or very little of the outside world. Many people see this as a sickness but it is becoming part of the norm in today's society.

How large is your digital footprint?