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Internet Privacy and Security

Internet Privacy and Security Activity: Without A (Big) Trace: Managing Your Digital Footprint

Instructions for Your Students

What's Going on Today

Okay, CSI, let's see what trace evidence you, or others, are putting out on the Internet about you. You leave digital prints every day, of all shapes, sizes, and levels of appropriate to you-would-not-want-your-grandma-seeing-this. You probably don't know about all the info about you floating around online. So take a peek, do some research (on you!), and put together your own file, called a digital dossier. As in, the kind of files that the CIA and FBI put together. That's right, except this time it's up to you to crack the case of what's eating up bandwidth about you.


When your instructor asks you to go to the websites below, open them in your browser.

Digital Footprint. Take a look at this animation, then answer the following questions:

  1. Have you ever considered that everything you do online might be seen by others?
  2. What websites do you like to go on, and what do you do on them? What websites do you have usernames for?
  3. With all the things you've posted on the Internet already, is there anything you wouldn't like the whole world to be able to see?

Watch a video by the Digital Tattoo Project, and then answer these questions:

  1. What types of information do the first three or four individuals in the video think is out there about them on the Internet? Is it appropriate? Do you think they all feel good about it? Why or why not? 
  2. What info do you think is out there about you online? Do you feel good about what's out there? Why or why not? 
  3. When it comes to the Internet, is it helpful or harmful to have a common name that a lot of other people also have?

Search for Yourself. When your instructor tells you, search for yourself on these websites:

Digital Dossier. Watch the video and answer the following questions:

  1. What is a digital dossier? 
  2. When does it start? 
  3. What is the first ever part of Andy's digital dossier? 
  4. When Andy is born, what information does his digital bracelet have? 
  5. When Andy goes on Neopets, what information does he provide about himself? 
  6. What information does Andy post on Facebook? What does Facebook do with this information? 
  7. What does Google do with the searches that Andy performs? 
  8. What happens when Andy buys something from Amazon? 
  9. What does Andy's cell phone GPS do? 
  10. What happens when Andy gets married? 
  11. What will happen to Andy's dossier when he dies? 
  12. Think about what you found out about yourself in our previous activity. What does your digital dossier say about you?