Several years ago, the term “digital footprint” was coined. However, as industries such as data brokers emerged, people realized that this description was not accurate since a “footprint” sounds as if it can be erased. The fact is, all digital data is collected, stored, sold to companies, sold to criminals, and is as permanent as a tattoo.

Every search, comment, purchase, picture, tweet, share, snap, like, and call is recorded in your digital profile and becomes a part of big data. Everything associated with your name, cell number, email, and IP addresses, is saved forever and cannot be deleted. Even if you “delete” them, they are still stored somewhere on the internet or in a storage cloud which means it can be found. Even while in incognito mode, or in anonymous apps, your history is tracked and recorded. This is not intended to scare you, but rather to open your eyes as to how the things you say and what you do, may impact you in the future. Comments that you make on social media at age 16 may lead to you not getting into the military, being uninvited to a college, or not getting the job you set your heart on.

Watch the video below and ask yourself:

  • How many people had their acceptance offer to Harvard rescinded?
  • How many years did they work to get into Harvard?
  • How many seconds did it take to ruin their dream of going to Harvard?

Video | 2:48

FACT: There is NO DELETE OR ANONYMOUS on the internet!

There are no laws prohibiting the collection, selling, or purchasing of this information by businesses. Even when the U.S. passes laws (as other countries have), the internet is world-wide and digital secrets are thought to be the currency of the underworld in the future. For now, algorithms searching massive computers calculate a person’s character from their data and that of the people with whom they associate. Anyone with money can access this. The only person who can keep your digital profile clean is you.

Watch the video below and ask yourself:

  • Why would Universities not want to give scholarships to people with a history of bad decision making on the internet?

Video | 3:20

References

22Digital Tattoo - digitaltattoo.ubc.ca/