What is a digital footprint? How to protect yourself online, and keep your data from being used against you

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It’s important to know what kind of traces, or digital footprint, your online activities leave behind.

  • Your digital footprint refers to all the personal data and information available about you online.
  • Your active digital footprint includes your emails, social media posts, and other messages with your name attached.
  • Your passive digital footprint is information you unintentionally leave behind, like your IP address.
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As the internet is deeply entwined in almost every aspect of modern life, it’s difficult to avoid having some kind of presence online.

The degree to which you leave traces of your online activities is referred to as your digital footprint – it’s akin to the evidence you might leave behind after going camping, such as remnants of a campfire, your dinner scraps, and the path you carved in the woods while hiking.

In the case of your digital footprint, the evidence you leave behind is data. This footprint tends to fall into two major categories, depending on whether you’re leaving an “active” digital footprint or a “passive” one.

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