Digital Footprint

Digital Knowledge | Exploration

Selected pages within this site were developed during studies for RMIT’s Master of Information Management (2019).

At 95%, the site design/content achieved a ‘High Distinction’.

Demonstrating exploration of Digital Footprint.

Evidence | screen shots or embedding the technology

      • COOKIES | Novotel Hotel, Collins St – wifi service

      • Google – PBSNewsHourWend
          • delete your entire Google search history

  • Google Streetview



  • Developed 1994 at Netscape, Cookies are “bits of code that allow information to be passed between a server and a client computer”. The privacy implications of such monitoring mechanisms come from monitoring and profiling of users[1].
  • COOKIES – use of wifi | Novotel hotel
    • Portal provided by 3rd party
    • For both provider and user there are professional implications. Within its terms of use, Novotel states no personal information will be sold or traded, while monitoring, storage and collection will occur. Novotels unsecured wifi service has ‘user-beware’ implications for the user. Terms of Use state all responsibility for using the service fall onto the user.
    • From a professional standpoint, onus is on me as the user to ensure that extra precautions are taken that commercial-in-confidence information and data are not at risk.


One small step for Carol Brady. One giant digital footprint for mankind.

The New York Times reported on the phenomenon of the rolling, nation-wide online search query for Carol Brady’s maiden name. Becoming the earliest known example of a mass digital footprint, it was generated during the American episode of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ Simultaneously it finally provided Google with new evidence of a sustainable business model[2].

I never use password protected website on wifi service such as Novotel Hotel, Colllins St Melbourne, as they are liable to hacking and phishing

    • Identifies computer, records preferences and other statistics about your use
  • FACEBOOK | Case study – ‘like’ button [3]
    • Introduced April 2010, powerful supply mechanism from which user behaviours are continuously captured and transmitted
    • Facebook installs ‘cookies’ in users computers whether or not they click the button
    • also tracks non-Facebook members – conclusion: Facebook able to potentially and surveil ‘all web users’
    • Facebook has logged and received patent on specialised techniques for tracking users across web domains
    • Facebook’s new data methods can now track users:
      • create personal profiles on individuals and their social networks
      • receive reports from 3rd parties on each action of Facebook users
      • log those action into Facebook system to correlate them with specific ad’s served to specified individuals
    • By 2014 Facebook announced tracking users across the net using ‘like’ button, in order to build profiles for personalised ad pitches”

After the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, I deactivated my Facebook profile permanently. It has been restored for the purpose of this client brief.

Comment | Other Issues 



Want a deeper understanding of how your digital footprint is impacted by Facebook?[4] Good luck. Facebook privacy policies are notoriously impossible to read[5]. The same can be said for Amazon’s Alexa and emerging ‘smart products’ such as the nest thermostat[6] and roomba vacumm[7]. 

Google – search history

To pursue the ‘right to be forgotten[8], as detailed by Zuboff, S and PBS NewsHour Weekend[9], it is possible to delete your entire Google search history. Zuboff notes ‘options to delete individual search items, searches that have occurred in more recent periods, and searches from mobile or tablet devices. But just because a user deletes his or her search history, that does not mean that it disappears completely’[10].

Smart Technology | Alexa – someone else listening[11]

According to researcher Canalys, 78 million smart speakers were purchased globally by consumers last year. Digital assistants are also engaged via smartphone voice software by millions of users. Smart speakers and voice software allows users to play games, find music or trawl for trivia – products include: Alphabet‘s Google Home, Apple’s HomePod and Apple’s Siri. Yet many users are fearful that their conversations are under surveillance and possibly even stored. Intended to listen for a ‘wake word’, Amazon’s Alexa software constantly harvests snatches of audio. It records and beams commands to Amazon servers.

While Alexa privacy settings give users the option of disabling the use of their voice recordings for the development of new features, instructions on how to achieve this are not explicit.

Marketing and privacy policy materials doesn’t explicitly say humans are listening to recordings of some conversations picked up by Amazon Alexa. But they most certainly do – in locations as varied and exotic as Romania, India, Africa and even Boston. This includes “background conversations-even when children are speaking or capturing blaring televisions or unintelligible noise. Sometimes Amazon listeners hear users discussing private details such as names or bank details; in such cases, they’re supposed to tick a dialogue box denoting ‘critical data”. 


Zuboff, S., states that privacy as we know it has been ‘declared no longer a social norm[12]. Once we sign-up, hit the ‘I Agree’ button and start uploading photo’s and posts, social media tech giants consider our property theirs.

Who owns our privacy? Who owns us? Do we really own our own content we create and the copyrights that are prescribed ours under laws, legal processes and accepted legal frameworks that have evolved over centuries’ of human evolution?

If not, why not? As Zuboff, S., states repeatedly time and again: ‘Who knows? Who decides? Who decides who decides?


Android mobile phones are constantly tracking users. In the pipeline are ubiquitous wearable technologies[13] oozing with sensors to track not just our movement, but the way we move as well. If our shoulders are slumped, an algorithm will pronounce us ‘depressed’.

Will our future selves still be the domain of our self? Or will our behaviour be the sole intellectual property of those who own the technology that records it? 


COOKIES – use of wifi | Novotel hotel (portal – 3rd party provider

  • ‘no promise of security – data transferred at own risk.
  • from a professional standpoint, its beholden on the user to ensure that extra precautions are taken that commericla-in-confidecne information and data are not at risk.

digital footprint | free tools – track active and passive [14]:

  • Google Alerts
  • Mention | monitor any keywords
  • Tweetdeck and Hootsuite
  • Twitonomy



[1] Zuboff, S., The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, London: Profile Books Ltd, 2019 p86

[2] Zuboff, S., ibid p75

[3] Zuboff, S., ibid p159

[4] Zuboff, S., ibid p48, 160

[5] Zuboff, S., ibid p49-50

[6] Zuboff, S., ibid p7

[7] Zuboff, S., ibid p235-236

[8] Zuboff, S., ibid p27

[9] Kalmanoff, T., Apr 25, 2015 ‘Here’s how you can see and delete your entire Google search’, PBS News Hour, available at:

[10] Zuboff, S., op cit p15

[11] Day, M., Turner, G., and N., 10.38am 2019, ‘’Alexa, is someone else listening to us?’ Sometimes, someone is’, The Age, , available at:, Accessed 11 Apr  2019

[12] Zuboff, S., op citp48, 274, 370-371,

[13] Zuboff, S., op cit p136-137, 154, 243-244

[14] Sheninger, E., Jan 08, 2017 ‘Your Digital Footprint Matters’, Huffington Post, available at: A Fistful Of Scripts