Is User-Security the Website’s Responsibility, or Should Digital Footprint Management Fall to Individuals?

Digital Footprint

Do you think your data is secure and your digital footprint well-managed? Maybe you do, but it probably isn’t. Why? Because hacks increased by 133% year-over-year from March 2022 to March 2023, jumping from 165,000 in 2022 to 393,419 in 2023. But do you think it’s the website’s fault or the individual’s fault? Read on to see what our opinion of digital footprint management should fall to.

The Digital Footprint Dilemma

The question we should ask you is – do you know how to remove sensitive information or where it even is?

Did you know that every tap, click, and scroll is a major digital footprint we leave behind? That isn’t just about where we’ve been. It’s a map of our online interactions, preferences, and movements. If your location is on, Google Timeline is no doubt tracking you.

It’s also the photos we post to the items we cart. It’s basically everything – and most people have an extensive trail. Do you think a website is responsible for that? Not entirely, but they are responsible for their role in it.

The Case for Website Responsibility

Websites and online platforms watch over our digital interactions; once we give them permission to. And how much permission do they have? Well, that’s in the terms and conditions most of us avoid reading because they’re too long. These long and seemingly boring documents give them the key to do what they want with our information – so, who’s at fault if we don’t read them?

Still, it’s a website’s responsibility to have robust security measures and transparent privacy policies – they need to follow General Data Protection Regulations or face fines. Technically, in this sense, it’s a mixed bag of responsibility. If they’re saying in the terms and conditions they will sell some of your data to advertisers, and you’ve said OK – it’s your fault. If they have weak security systems and your data is stolen, it’s their fault.

The Case For Individual Responsibility

As you can see, you can’t place the burden of digital footprint management on websites – you should be taking control of your own data and understanding it. You can do this by doing regular data cleanses. There are tools online that’ll do it for you. Individuals can also do basic solutions, like managing privacy settings, being mindful of what they share, and understanding the permanence of their online actions.

Also read: Online Privacy: What You Need to Know About Your Digital Footprint

The Bigger Picture

The conversation should include regulation and digital literacy to secure online privacy and security. Governments and regulatory bodies are essential to this ecosystem. By setting comprehensive standards for data protection and privacy, they can force websites to adopt practices that prioritize user security. That’s what happened with the General Data Protection Regulation. Well, part of what happened.

Educational initiatives focusing on building digital literacy from a young age help. We’re only really taught about one side of online safety – and that’s not to talk to strangers. People should understand the permanence of digital actions, the mechanics of data tracking, and the tools available for managing a digital footprint. If we can create a digitally literate society, we’re mitigating tons of risks in one. It’s simply that people don’t understand how to be safe online with their data and where their data even is.

In the end, the responsibility for user security and digital footprint management is a shared one. That’s our final decision. The website must be secure and user’s personal data must follow guidelines, and the individual must understand their digital footprint and what they’re doing with it. Sadly, neither is the case. The numbers in the introduction prove it.

Written by
Delbert David

Delbert David is the editor in chief of The Tech Trend. He accepts all the challenges in the content reading and editing. Delbert is deeply interested in the moral ramifications of new technologies and believes in leveraging content marketing.

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