Digital Footprint Ratings

The Internet, for most of us, now forms a large part of our daily lives. Everytime we log on or use our phone, we leave behind a digital footprint. This could include our social interactions, our subscriptions, our emails, whenever we bank online, pay our bills, buy things, auction our stuff, load our photos or videos into the cloud, and anything else you can think of that involves accessing the Internet. Not all things “digital” are Internet based however. Your home videos may be held on digital tape. Photos from your digital camera may be stored on your computer or on memory sticks. The ability to collect huge amounts of information about us is ever growing as we become more and more digitised through the use of computers, tablets, cameras and smartphones. These are our Digital Footprints.

Our Digital Footprint Ratings icons are scattered around the site against various articles to raise your level of awareness of the risks you might be incurring when you leave your digital footprints behind. See the list of those to which we have given a Digital Footprint Rating.

The table below illustrates how we have used them.

No footprint ratingNothing worthy of note is left behind or the risk is very small.
Risk rated at one digital footprintLow risk. Not much is collected. Your exposure to any risk is likely to be pretty small. Examples could be cookies to manage website preferences or an email address to receive a newsletter etc.
Risk rated at two digital footprintsA slightly increased risk. Could include the use of 3rd party cookies to identify your shopping preferences. For example, if you do not manage or block 3rd party cookies appropriately, you may see adverts appearing on other sites related to shopping you’ve been doing elsewhere. Not harmful per se, but some consider this an intrusion into their privacy.
Risk rated at three digital footprintsMedium risk. Examples could be where you’ve allowed apps to track you as a named purchase adipex 37.5 online person together with usage and sharing of location data. Requires a lot of trust to ensure this tracking is used responsibly. Could contribute to social engineering opportunities.
Risk rated at four digital footprintsSignificant risk. Where you give enough away about yourself to be identifiable and tracked. These are likely to include shopping and social media sites or processes that collect enough about you that you should remain vigilant to protect yourself. The information provided could be enough to facilitate stalking, material for identity theft or social engineering frauds. Examples could include profile and account information, real name, nick name, family members names and their photos, friends, activities, including holiday information, birthday or birth date, full or part address information, places of work, schools, email address, IP address, preferences, sex, religious and political views etc. The list goes on. Bear in mind that information could be gathered across multiple channels; online, mobile and offline strengthening what can be deduced. Social media sites offer significant opportunities for criminals to operate if you are not protecting your privacy.
Risk rated at five digital footprintsSevere risk. We give an article the a rating of five digital footprints where believe there could be a very high level of risk. In these circumstances, you are likely to be providing significant information. This could include passport, National Insurance number (NI), P60, P45, bank statements, utility bills, driver’s licence, date of birth etc. All of these are important documents. On their own, you should exercise caution, but together, they could pose a large risk to your privacy and protection if mis-used. For example you could be subject to identify theft should combinations of these fall into the wrong hands. Collection and many of these items by an organisation should warrant the need for that organisation to be registered on the Data Protection register and be able to provide a registration number on demand.