Digital footprints- Boon or a Bane

With the onset of the Covid era, “the availability and accessibility to internet surfing have changed drastically. With the click of a button, the online world has made life much easier for consumers, businesses, technocrats, or everyday people alike. With the boon of easy access to the online world lies the bane of the marketing companies and cybercrime on the platform.

Confined at home during the pandemic, with no means of entertainment, closed movie theaters, no restaurants to dine in, people across the globe have been spending more of their lives online.

Due to the increased Internet usage, people have been leaving behind the trails of their interests in products, movies, music, topics, activities, places, people, and pretty much everything like little breadcrumbs. Any activity, comment on any social media platform, VOIP use, to stay in touch with family & friends, high concentration of WhatsApp usage, and email records become part of online history.

Digital Marketing is a rapidly emerging trend in the virtual and augmented world. The use of a digital footprint brings along positive and negative consequences. On the one hand, without an individual’s authorization, Corporations can customize ads based on browsing history, can piece together information regarding their demographic traits, sexual orientation, race, religious and political views, personality, or intelligence without individuals’ knowledge by only using search engines. It also exposes individuals’ psychological spheres into the social sphere.

Digital footprint leaves such rich information about an individual that makes it lucrative for the marketing companies to sweep up these breadcrumbs.

These companies combine and sort them with advanced analytics tools through various tracking mechanisms, create profiles, and then sell them to people who target us with advertisements and offers. The base of digital marketing products is Micro-targeting, which is evolving and expanding faster than other technologies ever grow.

These footprints are permanent so long as the Internet exists. Deleting is a pure scam, for it gives the impression that the content is done and dusted with.

However, it is not. It might have gone from a certain level of internet operations, but it undoubtedly remains at other deeper surfaces. A simple analysis of an individual’s internet activities will shock the extent the Internet remembers for the past ten years.

Since the beginning, On the other side of the digital footprint is a troubling word “Privacy of individuals” that continues to be at greater risk across different platforms. Even though most social media sites promote, encourage, and make efforts to protect privacy, the nefarious elements seep their way into tweaking it. It is common knowledge that those behind the internet platforms engage in digital surveillance, thus unethically prying on users.

The digital eavesdroppers, ubiquitous online spies, and hackers follow an individual in a way that the cyber- world is not a haven anymore.

With its alluring charm, the Internet practically ruins the lives of some who, out of excitement, depression, the euphoria of pleasure or power, untrained emotion, engage in shameful, disgraceful acts online. Some of these unwholesome acts could be criminal and fraudulent transactions. On the other hand, many internet users firm their lives on social media pillars, easily susceptible to blackmail.

The young ones innocently abandon themselves to various forms
of atrocities, ignorant of their repercussions and ramifications of being unaware of the privacy setting choices and the security consequences associated with them.

As the expansion and integration of the digital world blends with more aspects of everyday life, ownership and rights concerning data become even more critical. Every day, for every online action—positive or negative, deliberate or unintentional—there is a permanent record. Almost every individual contributes to a growing portrait of who they are online, a picture that isprobably more public than we assume.

However, everything is acceptable when done within limits. The threats we face online are numerous, ranging from online data theft to invasion of privacy, cyberbullying, and fraud.

Limiting what one share online is one of the best ways to manage your digital footprint. Internet usage and social media handlings are to be done with extreme caution. If an individual is not cautious or conscious, then one is on the brink of embedded threats in digital footprints. The correct choices at the right time will definitely help an individual from being vulnerable and better protect the digital print.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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