Personal data is the information that collects the identification of individuals and their personal characteristics or circumstances. Such personal data constitutes valuable personal information that serves to carry out everyday professional activities, but at the same time reveals private data about a person’s personality, preferences or tastes, among others.
The Internet never forgets, so special attention needs to be paid to what is shared on the networks. Any idea, comment, video or photo that you publish on the Internet can remain there forever. This series of data, which may seem insignificant at first glance, generates what is known as a fingerprint. That is, a record of information that identifies the user and individualizes him or her, just like the fingerprint.
There are two main classifications for fingerprints: passive and active. A passive fingerprint is data collected without the owner’s knowledge, while active fingerprints are created when a user deliberately discloses personal data in order to share information about themselves through websites or social networking services. The information may or may not be left intentionally by the user; it is collected by other interested parties.
Therefore, we must be very careful every time we publish something on a social network, since once published we lose control over that content. Even if we delete it, it will at least be recorded on the social network’s servers and anyone who has seen it may have made use of that information, either by disseminating it or copying it.
Another problem we may encounter is identity theft, which is a malicious activity that consists of impersonating another person for various reasons: committing some kind of fraud, obtaining data illegally, committing cyberbullying or grooming (gaining the trust of a minor in order to sexually abuse him). The most common example of impersonation is creating a false profile on social networks in order to communicate with other people by impersonating them.
There is a general tendency to think that the only people who are impersonated are famous people such as politicians or celebrities. This is not entirely true, as any identity of an anonymous user risks being supplanted. The number of people who have reported impersonation has grown exponentially in recent years.