Credits: Flickr/ricky montalvo
Ever felt that there was someone spying on you from behind the screen of your laptop, computers or phones; or believed that what we do online is being recorded or known to someone else? Our imaginations are no longer fictional; it has become a reality. Our excessive habit of divulging information on social media platforms as part of our ‘partial identity’ and purchase products through e-commerce sites leave trails – digital footprints – that leads to information about you, be it age, gender, work and even the type clothing that you like.
User should understand the risk of how their information are shared, for example, “When you use Google services, you trust us with your data…” (privacy.google.com) although the reputable provider restricts sharing of consumer’s information, there are still loop holes in the system that may allow 3rd party firms to retrieve information from them through circumstances or ‘terms and condition’.
So, is it safe to just have one persona? It purely depends on how you wish to set your digital identity. Many vloggers or bloggers who tend to share personal stories on their sites and interact with people on various media platforms and would require to maintain the same identity throughout. These people tend to revolve their interaction on the internet with that one persona which resembles their real-life personality. However, users with single identity online a more susceptible to the dangers that lurk online such as identity theft or credit card fraud as most or in fact all their information are linked to that account.
Users with multiple persona on the other hand, can remain relatively anonymous by segregating their personal and professional lives. Multiple personas allow users to retain some information and control what is shared about them. However, separate persona does not mean your data is save from 3rd party firms. It just means the data that is collected is limited to the information that is displayed about that persona. Having said this, multiple persona may hinder the positive outcomes of leaving digital footprints.
Even though it may sound like these aggregators are out there to hurt you, not all information fished out are used against you. Information collected by banks are used to monitor your digital identity and pay attention to changes in your digital behaviour. Thus, enabling them to observe irregular movements and allowing them to investigate if it is legitimate.
Personally, I think it would be best to maintain separate persona to limit information shared to various parties and manage digital footprints. Just remember that as long as you are connected to the internet, you will be seen and you will be monitored.
beccacampbellblog. 27 Oct 2014. https://beccacampbellblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-having-a-digital-identity-2/
Google Privacy and Tersms. https://www.google.com/policies/privacy/
James Clay. 25 Jan 2016. https://digitalcapability.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2016/01/25/digital-anonymity/
One identity or more? 8 Mar 2011. http://buzzmachine.com/2011/03/08/one-identity-or-more/