As of 2022, more than 4.95 billion people use the internet daily. This number accounts for more than half the planet’s population, so it goes without saying that there is a lot of content flooding the servers. When you consider that much of this content might contain fragments of user information, we can see how this became a privacy issue some time ago. Many internet users are warned to be cautious about going online and giving away personal data.
As a result of the internet being so important to most people’s lives, it’s nearly impossible to forget your online presence. Even when you delete everything online – pictures, comments, and posts – there are logs being kept somewhere on some computer that can identify you as the individual user. That’s why privacy is so important. A few data privacy practices can make hackers’ jobs harder, and even keep them from figuring out what you know about them before they attack.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what a digital footprint is and six ways to wipe them away.
A digital footprint is what allows you to leave an online imprint that can be seen by people who visit your social media profiles, for example.
Before we talk about how to delete your digital footprint, let’s mention what it is and how it might be useful in this article. Digital footprint refers to any data found on the internet that can be traced back to the user who left it. Even after spending years online, some people might not realize that what they do on the Internet leaves a digital footprint. For “digital natives”, or gen-Zers, being online all their lives has made them more oblivious to what they leave behind – even though technology is literally a part of their DNA.
Digital footprints seem harmless, but they can still be compromised. If a company or organization gets access to your data, they could use it and buy it from others as well. They’ll tailor advertisements to you based on your digital footprint – and this is how the internet algorithm works. But marketers and companies can use this to their advantage, too!
There are many ways to protect your personal data online, and you have the responsibility as a consumer to take precautions. Some people are more vulnerable than others, and it’s important for them to understand about the risks so that they can educate themselves on the best ways to keep their information safe. One of these is called “market profiling,” which is when someone collects your personal data without your consent or authorization, creates a profile of them, and sells their information to advertisers who want a specific audience.
Cleaning Up Your Digital Footprint
In this day and age, digital security is your number one priority. That’s why it’s so important to always be mindful of where you leave your information. It’s not quite as difficult as you might think. Below are some ways to clean up your digital footprint.
Have you forgotten some of your email accounts for social networking sites? Maybe you don’t remember when or why you created them. A great place to start is by searching your name on Google. You can never be too careful about your digital footprint, and there may still be accounts that are active but you forgot about.
Before you delete old social accounts, remember to make sure that your data is safe by checking in with Google. You never know what personal information might be on these accounts when you’re not controlling them. And the last thing you want is an account of pictures that may be private popping up online.
Say Goodbye to your Accounts and Deactivate them
We have all been tempted to create an account in a platform that we saw advertised because it looked promising. However, it’s not always wise to create and abandon accounts. You may find that some of the features are different than you expected after you sign up for your account, or the decline in followers to be troubling. Making a Mistake one time doesn’t mean you won’t get back on track.
Deactivating or deleting accounts on popular social media platforms, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, is important because these are where people share information about themselves.
Log in, Head to Settings >> Your Profile.
Privacy settings are often hard to understand because they contain so much jargon. Some people don’t realize the importance of these settings. However, privacy settings give users control over what personal data they are willing to share with the website. Users can also block certain private, sensitive information from showing up on their profiles and pages.
Mobile applications can access all of your photos and videos, which is why it’s important to be wary of permissions. Unless the app needs access for its function, you should not allow it because there’s a high risk of unauthorized use.
Go With A VPN
VPNs have their benefits, and many have a simple design which can provide the same level of security as other VPNs.
VPNs are used for many different things, but the reason we’re here is that they can prevent your private data from leaking into unfavorable servers. You see, when you use a VPN, the sensitive information you send over the internet is encrypted and hidden from your ISP. That way, it’s impossible for them to find out what you’re doing online.
Clear Browser Cache
Unprotected devices are susceptible to data mining. Tracking the data you send over the internet can help third parties get your information, which could compromise your private activities.
The process of mining data through browser history is known as “sniffing.” Third parties use this process to monitor the data you send and receive while online.
Clearing out your browser history each time you close the tab will keep your data from being leaked onto the internet. Aside from that, cleaning it out regularly can significantly improve your device’s performance by freeing up some space.
Cleaning up your device is important for a more worry-free computing experience.
It’s important to protect your data and clean up after yourself. Cleaning up your computer will delete any information you may have left behind, so make sure that you back up any files on another part of your computer or a secure server elsewhere.
It’s a good idea to delete temporary files on your computer, such as remnants of software you previously uninstalled. These files may still contain some personal information, so keeping or reusing them could be risky. Tools like antivirus software with built-in cleaner make it easy to see how much space is left on your computer, which will become more and more important as time goes on. The best cleaning software can also identify seldom-used files and makes them a priority during a cleanup process.
Keep in mind that the downside of this method is that you might accidentally delete some necessary files. That’s why it’s important to take your time and make sure you select only the files that you don’t want.
One thing the crypto world has in common with the digital space is that both are only as anonymous as the owner permits. However, when combined with a reliable cryptocurrency wallet service without records of personal information, it’s extremely difficult to find the true identity of any crypto owner.
It’s not easy these days to hide your identity on the internet. It’s even harder to clean up what already exists in your service. Luckily, there are best practices and utilities we can use to remove our personally identifiable information ourselves without needing intervention from an expert. Customizing your privacy settings on every app you download can go a long way; it means you’re not using the internet irresponsibly without thinking about the consequences for your personal information.
By simply performing a Google search, you risk exposing yourself to websites you’ve forgotten about but could still hurt your online presence. Luckily, VPNs can help protect your data and prevent leaks, so you won’t have to go through the cleanup process.
In the cryptocurrency market – which claims to be anonymous – users are not immune to data privacy issues. But like in cyberspace, there is a way to protect your personal information. We recommend that you look for a crypto service that doesn’t use logs but instead uses an innovative coin mixing technology to preserve anonymity. Unijoin can provide both.