Every time we go on the internet, we leave a trail of personal information behind. We permit apps to access our devices without us even realizing it. Our digital footprint will continue to grow as the internet continues to expand. This raises many concerns about privacy that should worry you. The internet is a useful tool for hackers and scammers to target almost anyone in various ways. Let’s take a look at what a digital footprint is and how to erase your digital footprint.
What Is A Digital Footprint?
A digital footprint is essentially anything that you do on the internet. This includes comments on social media, video calls on Skype, emails sent and received, and other tasks. We leave a record with almost everything we do online. Have you realized some apps will even detect the different devices you are using the app on? Your digital footprint may be way more extensive than you even realize.
Why You Should Be Worried About Your Digital Footprint
Not only are we looking at websites, but these websites are also looking back at us. While sometimes the intentions are good, like helping us sign into sites faster, it is essential to know what data you may leave behind. Many apps share our data with third-party companies, and they can easily learn almost everything there is to know about you. We have all heard about social media ads appearing for something we just had a conversation about. That is why you should be worried about the trail you leave behind on the internet.
Ways To Erase Your Digital Footprint
It will be hard to completely erase your footprint because there is so much information already exposed. There are some ways you can reduce the amount of information you are sharing and additionally, you may be able to remove some information from specific databases. Here are some of the ways that you can erase your digital footprint and help stop devices from sharing your information.
– Right To Be Forgotten
Also known as the Right to Erasure, this right is a way to delete yourself from the internet. The right to control one’s data is nothing unless we can take action when we no longer give consent. Our information is protected by the GDPR who governs how personal data is collected, processed, and erased. You can google search your name, and if you see a false search result, you can take steps to remove that fake information.
– Delete Your Social Media Profiles
It is important to deactivate or delete your accounts so that you don’t appear in the search engines. This will also help in preventing apps from tracking you while you are not using them.
– Don’t Have Google Track Your History & Data
Make sure you know who you are sharing your information with. By accepting a site’s terms and conditions, you may be allowing them to access your device as well. It’s been known that company employees, like Google, may possibly view your information to improve their services. However, sometimes this information is shared and sold to data brokers.
– Opt-Out Of Data Collection Sites
You can choose whether or not you want to share your data with data collection sites and companies. Opting out of having your information accessible on data collecting sites will help reduce your chances of identity theft. You may also want to look into Google Privacy Checkup, where you can regulate what information Google is saving.
– Close Your Email Accounts
Close or deactivate any emails that you are no longer using will reduce your digital footprint. Any information saved on your email account could be accessible to data brokers who value this information. Make sure you are aware of any important notifications with regards to banking or taxes before you delete your email.
– Stop Your Smart Speakers & Virtual Assistant From Recording You
Now, we have smart devices in our home and virtual assistants on our mobile phones to help with our daily tasks. However, it’s been recently discovered that these technologies keep records of our conversations and commands. And sometimes, these conversations are accessible by company employees to help with product improvement. You must choose to stop these devices from sharing your data even if it is done with good intentions.
– Prevent Your Devices From Tracking You
You can decide who you share your location settings with. Major devices like iPhone, iPad, Androids smartphone, Tablets, and many others all ask for access to your location. Be cautious about who and with what you are sharing your location with.
- How To Stop Your Smartphone From Tracking Your Every Move, Sharing Data, and Sending Ads
- Android 101: How To Stop Location Tracking
- Your Apps Are Tracking You – Here’s How To Stop Them
- Your iPhone Is Spying On You – – Here’s How To Stop It
- PSA: Your Phone Logs Everywhere You Go. Here’s How To Turn It Off
It will be hard to erase your digital footprint completely. But by using these suggestions, it will help reduce your data online and get you on the path to managing what your footprint may look like. You should be aware that almost anything you do leaves a digital trail leading back to you. Stay up to date with how you can take control of your digital footprint and keep your information protected.