How much time do you spend online? An urban, working professional is likely to use computers every day and own a tablet or smartphone, or both, so it’s unsurprising that the average Malaysian spends more than five hours daily on the internet for work, research, online banking, shopping and much more. What’s more, out of these five hours, over half is spent on social networks!
It’s become second-nature to click, comment, post and share but most people don’t realise that every action online leaves a record, which is known as a digital footprint. Unlike a physical footprint however, these don’t fade with time.
In addition to things that are voluntarily shared, data can be collected passively as well, such as when search engines note you’re a frequent visitor to a particular site or often seek information on a particular topic.
Essentially, when people say ‘the Internet is forever’, what they mean is that anything that happens online, stays online. This also includes things that have been deleted or removed because everything that happens online can be easily shared and is backed up in some form.
Can I Really Be ‘Hunted’ That Easily?
In the new reality programme Hunted
(set to premiere on KIX HD, Astro Channel 729, on 31 May) where nine fugitive teams attempt to evade a manhunt led by skilled investigators, participants discover how their digital footprint can leave clues that lead to their capture.
The investigators, known as Hunters, work in teams to analyse each fugitive team’s lives in order to anticipate their next move, making them easier to find and capture. By using clues from the fugitives’ internet and phone usage, especially their social media activity, the Hunters are able to discover facts about the fugitives.
By tracking their habits and digital footprint, the Hunters are able to easily uncover the fugitives’ employment and relationship status; identify friends, family and neighbours; discover personal history; take note of easily identifiable marks like scars and tattoos; and a host of other details about their personal lives as well as the various factors that motivate them.
While most people aren’t going to experience an expert team of Hunters with state-of-the-art technology going through their entire digital lives, it does raise some interesting questions such as ‘How much information could a random stranger gather about me?’
The truth is – a lot. Every blog, post or comment, digital account, tagged photo, Tweet or Instagram update can be found and used to form a picture of a person’s daily habits
, life philosophies, areas of interest, professional skills and much more.
How Can I Make My Digital Footprint Harder To Trace?
It’s nearly impossible to completely erase one’s digital footprint but there are a few ways to reduce the amount of information that’s connected to you online.
1) Privacy and privacy settings
To begin, check the privacy settings of every social media account and select the most stringent option. Next, check what personal information is available on your profile – most people obligingly fill up detailed digital forms while signing up for free email accounts and social media sites; check the settings on each account to reduce or remove personal information. When using social media, photographs that you have posted can be removed, and tagged photos can be untagged. Conversely, don’t add to your online presence with frequent posts and comments.
2) Browsing history
Most people would have seen – and probably ignored – notices that advise us to clear caches, cookies or browsing history. Essentially, information is collected from sites that had been visited before; this helps the computer to load familiar pages more quickly. However, it also allows people to track your favourite sites. Clearing one’s cache, cookies and browsing history can help, or you can take a more serious approach by using stealth or private mode when browsing.
3) Subscriptions, mailing lists and old accounts
Similarly, signing up for newsletters, alerts and other materials are a good indication of where our interests lie. As many remain unread, unsubscribing also clears up a lot of digital clutter. Many people also have old accounts which are inactive and should be deleted.
Hunter or Hunted?
Learn more about how the nine teams of fugitives evade capture and the many tactics used to track and capture them in the digital world on Hunted
, which premieres first and exclusively on KIX HD (Astro Channel 729) starting May 31, Wednesdays, at 9pm
You can get in on the excitement too – in conjunction with the premiere of Hunted
, Rojak Daily and KIX HD team up to offer fans a piece of the action and to win exclusive goodies
! All you have to do is answer three simple questions:
Here's what you can stand to win:
GRAND PRIZE X 3
1 x Exclusive KIX HD windbreaker jacket
1 x Muscle Man figurine
1 x Exclusive KIX HD towel
CONSOLATION PRIZE X 7
1 x Muscle Man figurine
1 x Exclusive KIX HD towel
Terms and Conditions:
- Closing date: 7 June 2017.
- This contest is open to residents of Malaysia only.
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