If you are a regular user of the Internet and social networks, the fact that it seems that “we are being spied” will not have gone unnoticed. This phrase that is commented nonchalantly when a ad suspiciously related to something you’ve talked about in a private conversationfor instance.
Or when a video from an account you don’t follow appears on Instagram with content similar to the one you like. These are just a few examples of what is known as digital shadow. A concept that differs from fingerprint and to which it is convenient to pay attention for safe, responsible and conscious access to the network.
What is digital shadow?
The digital shadow is a series of information and data that we are leaving on the Internet without being aware of it. This last nuance is precisely the most relevant and what differentiates it from the digital footprint.
The fingerprint It is the trace that remains of us in the network of conscious way. For example, a photo or comment you post on social media, or a playlist you create in a music player app. Instead, the digital shadow is an unknown to the user.
When we use a digital device, we generate metadata that make up a kind of virtual profile from ourselves. That is why the algorithms of social networks and advertising adapt to our preferences without us specifying it.
In fact, experts warn that the information we generate unconsciously on the Internet is much greater than that which we do show voluntarily. A mobile phone, a smart tv, Smart Watchesactivity bracelets, appliances connected to the internet and even street security cameras are generating our digital shadow.
It also influences the WiFi connection of our devices and the ‘cookies‘ of web pages. Have you ever noticed that, when searching for an establishment on Google, it tells you at what time it is busiest? This is so because users’ locations are tracked, without their knowledge or consent.
Is the digital shadow dangerous?
There is no absolute answer to this question, but it depends. It depends on how sensitive you are about your privacy and what information you share on certain platforms. For example, in principle it is not a problem that social networks show you content related to your tastes, or advertising according to your consumption habits.
But this can be uncomfortable from the point of view of the privacy. In the same way, the bank details that we leave when we make purchases online are very sensitive information. For these purposes, it is convenient be careful and follow a series of recommendations to delimit the digital shadow.
How to control digital shadow
It is clear that an inherent factor in the digital shadow is that we do not know its scope and magnitude. But there are certain factors that yes they can be controlled to prevent it from being potentially dangerous:
• always read the ‘cookies’ of web pages to which you access and configure access only to the ones you want. Do not accept without knowing what you are giving your consent to.
• Erase from time to time browsing history and the registration of ‘cookies’.
• Do not save your bank details on shopping platforms and place orders only on reliable websites and platforms.
• Turn off the cautomatic connection to Wi-Fi networks free of passwords when you are away from home.
• Delete your subscription to all those ‘newsletters‘ that you don’t want to receive.
• Delete your accounts at social networks, websites and emails that you don’t use
• Do not connect to your personal accounts on public devices as libraries, unless strictly necessary. Afterwards, make sure to delete all pertinent histories.
• Use the tab incognito browsing of the Internet when you carry out searches that you do not want to leave a trace.
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