Your Digital Self


When Did Companies Start Collecting Data?

When Did Companies Start Collecting Data?

Data has been the core of any marketing strategy since the beginning. But as technology has advanced in the past few decades, so has the data-driven marketing strategy. In fact, we lost track of when did companies start collecting data to plant their marketing. In this article, we are talking about data collection by companies. So let’s get to it:

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Companies begin collecting data through commerce

Data about consumers has long been gathered by businesses. Keeping track of who purchased what at what times allowed vendors to plan their sales accordingly. At first, it was done through simple observation, noting information about a consumer, like when they were shopping and what they purchased.

Businesses would use the knowledge gained through observations to implement their marketing strategies. Although they could draw connections between their advertisements and customers’ in-store activities, the information was still largely conjectural. Once tracking could be done electronically, business owners began gathering detailed customer data and developing more accurate projections. Marketing that was driven by data was coming.

Below is a look at some of the methods businesses use to collect customer data, what they do with it, and how you might adapt these strategies to meet your company’s requirements.

What kind of data do companies collect?

Companies are gathering more information than your name, birthdate, and address. So, what kinds of data do companies collect?

The four categories of customer information that businesses gather are as follows:

1. Personal information

This group includes personal identifying information, including Social Security numbers and age, and nonpersonally sensitive data, like your IP address, internet browser cookies, and system IDs that all your smart gadgets have.

2. Engagement data

This type of data describes customer interactions with a company’s website, mobile applications, texts and emails, social network pages, forums, sponsored advertisements, and customer care channels.

3. Behavioral data

This group comprises data from previous transactions, such as purchase patterns, data about how a product was used, like repetitive behaviors, and qualitative techniques.

4. Attitudinal data

This type of information involves assessment for client satisfaction, buying criteria, product appeal, and much more.

How do companies collect your data?

Businesses get data from numerous sources in a variety of methods. Although some data gathering techniques are extremely technical, others are more logical.

Customer information may be gathered in three ways:

1. Directly asking customers

2. Implicitly monitoring customers

3. Supplementing your own customer information with data from external sources.

A successful company system involves all three methods.

Businesses are skilled at gathering data of various kinds from almost any source. The most apparent sources include consumer behavior on their websites and social media sites, customer texts, calls, and chat support. Still, there are also other, more intriguing techniques in play.

One illustration is location-based marketing, which creates a tailored data profile using tracking technology like an internet-connected device’s IP address. Using this data, the users’ devices are then targeted with hyper personalized, pertinent marketing.

Companies also delve deeply into their customer support databases to learn more about how customers have previously dealt with sales and support teams. Therefore, they are taking into account, on a large scale, direct input on what customers liked and disapproved of, what succeeded and what didn’t.

Companies that sell customer data and similar information to third-party sources have grown prevalent, in addition to gathering information for business objectives. Once obtained, this data frequently trades around in a particular data market.

How do they use the data they’ve collected?

There are a number of ways to use customer data. Below are some of the methods:

Turning data into a knowledge base to create a better product or service

Companies turn the sea of data into manageable information to enhance their products and services. But the challenge of organizing and evaluating massive amounts of data is apparent. No individual can spend all day reading through pages and paragraphs of consumer data, and even though they did, it’s doubtful they would create much of a contribution.

But computers can process this information more rapidly and easily than people can, and they can work nonstop for a full year without taking a vacation.

So companies leverage Artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms to sift through a pool of data and turn it into manageable and useful information. In addition, based on contextually relevant data, some AI applications will alert decision-makers inside a company to irregularities or suggest actions. Without programs like these, every piece of data ever collected would be completely meaningless.

Improving the companies’ customer experience

Consumer data presents a means for many businesses to enhance client interaction and further know customer requirements. Companies may quickly adapt their online presence, products, or services to fit the current industry if they study client behavior in addition to vast quantities of reviews and comments.

Companies use customer data to make choices on a personal level in addition to using it to enhance consumers’ overall experiences.

By developing personalized promos and limited-time offers based on consumer information, a business can enhance the customer experience. Personalization is crucial because each consumer will have their own unique tastes.

Planning an effective marketing strategy for the target market

Companies that use relevant and meaningful data can better understand how customers interact with and engage with their marketing programs and make necessary adjustments. This extremely accurate use case helps organizations estimate customers’ want based on past behavior. Sales promotion is increasing about customization, just as in other areas of consumer data research.

It is increasingly crucial to map consumers’ trips and personalize them as they go from your website to other social media websites.  You may advertise to only the individuals you understand are most likely to respond by successfully dividing data. These have created brand-new opportunities in previously extremely difficult sectors to sell to.

To secure more sensitive and contextually relevant data

Even some companies use customer data to secure more sensitive or confidential information. For instance, banking institutions occasionally use speech recognition data to allow users to view their financial records or shield them from unauthorized efforts to steal their data.

The combination of information from a customer’s customer service conversation, machine learning techniques, and monitoring technology allows these systems to detect and flag unauthorized activities to acquire a customer’s account. 

Businesses will discover novel and more efficient methods to gather and interpret data about everything, particularly consumers, as data collection and analytics technology advance. For firms to be successful, doing this is crucial; failing to do so is equivalent to performing a task with your hands bound together. In the contemporary business world, information is the supreme ruler, and insight is gained via contextually relevant data.

Putting a price on data

Businesses that collect data can benefit from it. Following the growth of big data, a new business called “data brokers,” or “data service providers,” has emerged. These companies buy and sell customers’ information. Collecting and marketing present prospects for new sources of income for companies that collect a lot of data.

The desire for additional data is rising since advertisers value this data highly and will invest in it. In other words, data brokers may increase their profits by providing this data to each other and advertising if they can assemble more comprehensive data accounts from a wider range of data sources.

The Takeaway?

Data collection is at the core of every marketing strategy. Turning a pool of information into meaningful data is the ground reality of every business. A business can generate revenue with useful customer data.

Michiel Top
Michiel Top
While working on strategic positioning, marketing and sales programs for various companies, I was shocked again and again by how easily accessible private information actually is. Around 2017, when I was designing an online customer management system, it occurred to me how we could turn the tables. Then in mid-2020, when my own GDPR application to a well-known data enrichment company failed, I knew something had to be done.

7 Differences Between Europe vs United States Data Privacy Laws

7 Differences Between Europe vs United States Data Privacy Laws

In this digital world, everything we do online leaves digital footprints, due to which many users are concerned about the data privacy issue. The concern is valid; every country is taking a different approach to protecting data. 

Large countries and organizations such as Europe and the United States show commitment to digital privacy and they’re focused on data protection with current legislation and enforcement actions. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between Europe vs United States data privacy laws and their approaches toward data protection. Let’s begin!

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In this digital world, everything we do online leaves digital footprints, due to which many users are concerned about the data privacy issue. The concern is valid; every country is taking a different approach to protecting data. 

Large countries and organizations such as Europe and the United States show commitment to digital privacy and they’re focused on data protection with current legislation and enforcement actions. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between Europe vs United States data privacy laws and their approaches toward data protection. Let’s begin!

The European Union’s GDPR

The European Union implemented its privacy law as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which went into action on 25th May 2018. The law applies to all businesses in or out of the European Union that process the data of European citizens. 

GDPR is a legal framework that regulates data privacy for every member and gives them control over how their personal data is accessed and used.

The United States, under CCPA

CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) is the first significant data privacy law that emerged in the United States to give individuals greater power over their information. CCPA took effect on 1st January 2020. 

According to International Comparative Legal Guides, the United States has various state and federal laws to protect citizen data and privacy. Therefore, CCPA was enforced in the wake of GDPR to increase transparency and give users better control over how organizations collect and use their sensitive data. 

Europe-United States Privacy Shield Framework

The United States Department of Commerce and European Commission designed the Europe-United States privacy shield framework. The Europe United States privacy shield ensures that organizations maintain high data protection. This shield framework is an agreement about data protection & privacy practices between the United States and Europe. The entities that want to engage in this practice must be certified under Privacy Shield.

The Federal Trade Commission and the United States support enforcement and monitoring. But the organizations that don’t meet standards are excluded from doing business with the European Union. Also, if they violate court or administrative orders, they are fined for it. 

Furthermore, the United States President and European Commission announced an agreement on 25th March 2022 in a joint press conference known as Trans Atlantic Data Privacy Framework (Privacy Shield 2.0). This agreement was made to replace the original Europe-United States privacy shield framework and address concerns of the European Court of Justice in the Schrems II decision. Also, it is intended to provide more excellent protection of data.

7 key differences between Europe vs United States data privacy laws

The European Union’s GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation, and (CCPA) California’s Consumer Privacy act are the first data privacy laws in the United States and Europe. Both laws protect users’ data privacy rights, but they have major differences. Let’s take a look at data privacy laws on both sides to find out fundamental differences between Europe vs United States data privacy laws.

1. The entities subjected by the law

GDPR law applies to all businesses, including non-profit organizations, companies, or any entity that collects consumer data in Europe.

On the other hand, CCPA applies to any for-profit entities that target California residents and meet at least one of the following:

  • Earns over $25 million in annual gross revenues.
  • Buys, sells, collects, or shares the personal data of at least 50,000 consumers and householders for commercial purposes.
  • Earns 50% of their yearly revenue by selling this data.

2. The data types being protected

CCPA protects data that relates to, identifies, or links with a household, individual, or device. In addition, it does not protect the publicly available data and medical & personal information recorded by the federal and state. 

Conversely, GDPR protects all types of personal data that relate to individuals & used for commercial purposes. However, it does not include anonymous data, non-automated data, and data for personal or household purposes.

3. Cookies usage

Another key difference between Europe and United States privacy laws is cookie consent. Under both CCPA and GDPR, websites must disclose the cookies’ information, their type, why they’re used, and how to manage or delete them.

CCPA rules are not as strict as GDPR in terms of cookie usage. In GDPR, opt-in consent is mandatory to use cookies that collect or track personal data. Unlike GDPR, CCPA does not require websites to ask for permission to use cookies and store cookies, and it only makes opt-out essential for the cookies that sell personal data. 

4. Information disclosed to the users

Transparency is a typical requirement among Europe and United States privacy laws, and both privacy laws require businesses to inform the users when their data is disclosed, collected, and used for business purposes. However, there’re minor differences in the information needed to disclose to users.

According to CCPA requirements, organizations must inform users when their personal data is used or stored after 12 months. Also, if any third party sells data to another third party, they’re liable to inform the users.

Furthermore, GDPR requires that businesses inform users when their data is collected & used and how long their data will be retained. Besides, when entities share the users’ data with a third party, they will have to notify them no later than a month.

5. User’s rights to opt-out

 CCPA allows organizations to give opt-out choices to users, and they can object to their data collection. Moreover, businesses must add a DNSMPI (Do not sell my personal information) link on their website pages where individual data is collected. If users opt-out, companies are not allowed to collect data for a year.

In terms of user rights, GDPR requirements are similar to CCPA. Meanwhile, the European union’s privacy laws give users the freedom to opt-in and opt-out, and users have a chance to withdraw consent and object to the collection of their information.

6. Penalties applied for violation

CCPA charges penalties of $2,500 for unintentional violations and $7,500 for intentional violations. California state court imposes the CCPA fines.

GDPR charges fines depending on the nature of the violation- up to €10 M or 2% annual global turnover for lower-level violations and up to €20 M or 4% annual global turnover for high-risk, severe violations. Also, users have the right to sue in both data protection laws.

7. Legal grounds for data processing

The last difference between Europe and United States privacy laws is their legal basis for data processing. GDPR requires websites to have a lawful basis for processing personal data in the Europe. Here are six legal bases for processing data:

  • Consent
  • Legal obligation
  • Contractual obligation
  • Organization interest
  • Public interest
  • Vital interest

On the other hand, CCPA does not require such a specific legal basis. Organizations under CCPA can process data for any purpose, however, not in a deceptive manner.

Final Thoughts

There you have it- seven key differences between Europe and United States privacy laws. Both data protection laws have global reach and are renowned pieces of legislation. Also, they’re focused on creating a secure environment that emphasizes privacy and transparency. However, GDPR has strict rules, and the European Union has prioritized citizen data protection. While the United States is also searching for top data privacy solutions to move with time and technology.

Did we miss any difference between both privacy laws? Need any kind of help related to data privacy issues? Let us know in the comment section below, or feel free to reach out. Your Digital Self would help you discover technical solutions to secure your digital privacy.

Michiel Top
Michiel Top
While working on strategic positioning, marketing and sales programs for various companies, I was shocked again and again by how easily accessible private information actually is. Around 2017, when I was designing an online customer management system, it occurred to me how we could turn the tables. Then in mid-2020, when my own GDPR application to a well-known data enrichment company failed, I knew something had to be done.

Understanding What is Your Digital Identity And 4 Important Steps To Control It

Understanding What is Your Digital Identity And 4 Important Steps To Control It

Nowadays, digital identity is the heart of any data-driven organization. While you cannot present paper documentation to support that you are who you claim to be online, your digital identity can still be used.

Let’s picture it.

For example: you’re driving your vehicle and happen to cross a red light. If a police officer stops you he will asks you to verify that you possess the car and have the legal right to operate it. You can respond by providing identification documents like your license and registration documentation.

But what takes place when you communicate online? You are unable to complete the same task using your paper files. Those prerequisites would be met by a digital identification. So let’s learn more about what is your digital identity and ways to control it:

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Definition of digital identity

A more formal definition of what is your digital identity is a connected or online identity that a person, business, or electronic equipment acquires or claims in virtual worlds. Through various networks, these users might also project several digital identities. The two main issues with digital identity control are security and confidentiality.

What is considered your digital identity?

A digital identity is made up of features, or data attributes, such as:

·         User ID and password

·         Social security number

·         medical background

·         Purchase patterns or history

·         Online search activities, like commenting on different posts, transactions, and search preferences

Your distinct identity among users of the Internet is your digital identity. It includes specific traits and characteristics that are particular to you.

For instance, you can identify yourself by your first and last names, birth dates, and occupations. Your first and last names don’t necessarily make you special, as there might be many individuals with the same particulars.

You, therefore, require additional identification, such as your birthdate. In this manner, it will be obvious that identity, such as an email address, relates to you. These identifiers are permanent; they don’t change throughout your life.

Some ids are changeable while others are static. Like your job description, they are subject to frequent modification. These distinguish you in a particular situation from other people. But in a virtual space, they don’t always identify the genuine person. Rather, each identifier contributes to the creation of your online identity. This digital identity can then serve as a record, enabling people to recognize the true you online.

The use of digital identity

Businesses can benefit from developing and maintaining digital identities in several ways. Among them are:


Businesses can safeguard login and transaction data for their clients by establishing highly secured identities. Since this is the foundation upon which eCommerce systems and finance platforms are built, this protection is essential.


To decrease fraud cases and encourage customers to do business with them, it is crucial for eCommerce platforms to protect their customers’ digital identities. Additionally, it enables them to improve the user experience.

Gambling and gaming

Businesses can prevent unlawful and unethical gaming and adhere to laws by requiring digital identities when users play games or gamble online on their systems.

Government and Public Sector

A digital identity for a corporation can assist in securing online logins and safeguarding vital assets, preventing any federal disputes or legal action. Additionally, government business units can protect their data by giving all of their workforce and other interested stakeholders digital IDs.


Hospitals and other medical facilities must generate digital identities for patients, physicians, and other staff members to store confidential material. Patients can especially benefit from this since the digital identity can record all medical information and make it easily accessible from any location.


Digital identities are used by finance and digital payment systems to speed up data security and enhance vendor onboarding.


Digital identities are used by the hospitality and tourism industries to stop compromised perks from being redeemed and fraudulent reservations from being made.


Insurance providers and agents can keep all client data on file using digital IDs. This quickens the screening procedure and guards against all forms of fraudulent activity.


Digital identities must be used by both monetary and non-monetary entities to compile credit reports, credit histories, and certification of prospective and current borrowers. This aids in fraud prevention and supports quick loan applications.


Digital identities are used by media and public relations executives to stop phony accounts and information, as well as to verify they receive the most for every dollar spent on advertising and marketing efforts.

How to control your digital identity?

Digital identity authentication and validation techniques are essential to guaranteeing Web and network infrastructure integrity in public and private sectors since identity fraud is common on the Internet. Below are the ways to control your digital identity.

· Make sure the connection is encrypted

Websites that use encryption to protect and secure online purchases only give private information. To determine whether the domain you are accessing is secured or not, look in the address bar of your browser. A “lock” symbol indicates that your data can be transmitted securely, but take precautions when connecting to a public wireless (Wi-Fi) network. Everyone can see the information you share and receive on these open networks if you visit a secure website. Personal financial procedures like viewing an account’s balance should be done via private and secure networks.

· Use password manager

The password management app that comes pre-installed on many smartphones is certainly known. These straightforward tools are essential for creating strong, one-of-a-kind passwords that are not reused across several accounts.

Making passwords is no longer sufficient on its own. One email account is all it needs for an attacker to gain access to all other identities in an environment where one Facebook account may sign you into many other sites. A password manager can assist you in using different passwords for each account, creating complex passwords that can’t be stolen using personal information, and updating your passwords regularly.

· Enable multi-factor authentication

To utilize a service like an app, net banking, or a VPN, the user must submit two or more verification credentials, known as multi-factor authentication (MFA). A solid identity and access management (IAM) procedure must include MFA as a fundamental element. MFA demands one or more extra authentication elements on top of a username and password, which lessens the possibility of a catastrophic cyberattack.

· Self-sovereign identity

Everyone has diverse associations or distinctive sets of identifying information, including businesses and the Internet of Things.

In a secure and reliable identity management system, self-sovereign identification (SSI) extends the same freedoms and personal liberty as physical documents to the Internet. SSI denotes that the person (or entity) administers the components of their identity and digitally limits access to all those credentials.

You can use your digital wallet and the credentials you were given to confirm your own identity through the SSI identification system.

The Takeaway?

In today’s modern world, understanding the concept of digital identity or online footprints is our ground reality. Besides, knowing how to control your digital id is likewise important.

Michiel Top
Michiel Top
While working on strategic positioning, marketing and sales programs for various companies, I was shocked again and again by how easily accessible private information actually is. Around 2017, when I was designing an online customer management system, it occurred to me how we could turn the tables. Then in mid-2020, when my own GDPR application to a well-known data enrichment company failed, I knew something had to be done.

Die nächste Phase von Your Digital Self

Die nächste Phase von Your Digital Self

Liebe Your Digital Self-Gemeinschaft,

wir freuen uns, Euch die nächste Phase von Your Digital Self vorstellen zu können!

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Was geschah nach “Your Digital Profile”?

“Your Digital Profile” hat uns einen einzigartigen Einblick verschafft. Ja, wir alle haben erfahren, welche Daten Deutschlands größtes Datenanreicherungsunternehmen über uns und über mehr als 70 Millionen Einwohner:innen sammelt, aber wir haben noch etwas anderes erfahren, das unsere Sicht auf den Zustand der persönlichen Daten weltweit dramatisch verändert hat.

Wir erreichten unser Ziel und sammelten 10.000 € für “Your Digital Profile”, und viele Unterstützer:innen fügten ihrer Zusage noch beträchtliche Spenden hinzu – die Leute interessierten sich!

Und dann geschah etwas Interessantes: Weniger als die Hälfte der Unterstützer:innen ging online, um den Prozess abzuschließen, und von diesen meldete sich wiederum nur die Hälfte überhaupt an, um sich ihre Auswertung  anzusehen.

Wir mussten ein wenig darüber nachdenken, aber langsam zeichnete sich ein Bild ab, das wir überall um uns herum bestätigt sahen: Wir machen uns Gedanken über das Thema “personenbezogene Daten” und erkennen , dass etwas nicht stimmt, aber wir persönlich ergreifen keine Maßnahmen, um unser Online-Verhalten zu ändern.

Warum erkennen wir, dass es nicht richtig läuft, machen aber weiter, ohne etwas zu ändern?

Diese Frage hat uns nicht mehr losgelassen, weil wir immer wieder feststellen mussten, dass sie grundsätzlich  Veränderungen überall im Wege steht.

Projekte, die versuchen, die Bedingungen für Verbraucher:innen und ihre Daten besser zu machen, neigen zum Scheitern; erstaunliche technische Bemühungen und Forschungen haben es schwer, die Aufmerksamkeit der Öffentlichkeit zu erregen, und dennoch fühlt es sich so an, als würdejede zweite Hollywood-Produktion Witze über “Technologieunternehmen besitzen all unsere Daten” machen, was immer wieder zu mehr als nur einer kleinen Anzahl von Likes auf Facebook führt.

Die Ergebnisse, die wir gefunden haben, sind konfrontativ und hart zu hören. Aber bleib’  uns treu, wir haben einen Plan.

Zuerst der einfache Teil: Wir sind bequem

Das Internet bietet uns eine Reihe von Annehmlichkeiten. Schnelle Kommunikation mit unseren Freunden, ablenkende Bilder, einfache Navigation oder eine simple Möglichkeit, Tickets zu kaufen. Wir wissen, dass diese Dinge mit den Daten verknüpft sind, die wir im Austausch für diese Annehmlichkeiten zur Verfügung stellen. Wir ahnen oder wissen sogar, dass das Geschäft nicht fair ist, aber wir wollen unseren Komfort nicht aufgeben, also graben wir nicht zu tief. Und warum sollten wir auch?!

Zweitens: Das Problem ist zu groß

Das Internet ist zwar ein täglicher Begleiter, aber wie es tatsächlich funktioniert, ist für die meisten Menschen ein Rätsel. Was wir wissen, ist, dass Teile davon von Unternehmen und Institutionen mit beeindruckendem Reichtum und Einfluss kontrolliert werden. Diese Unternehmen machen es uns zwar leicht, das Internet zu nutzen, aber sie diktieren auch, was wir sehen, hören oder lesen. Es scheint, dass sich sehr viel ändern muss, damit wir die Autonomie über unsere digitale Identität erlangen können!

Es ist verständlich, dass man sich angesichts dieser Umstände machtlos fühlt.

Drittens: Wir sind verletzt und haben das Vertrauen verloren

Unser digitales Selbst befindet sich in einer Beziehung, in der wir das Gefühl haben, dass etwas nicht stimmt, aber wir wissen nicht, wie wir da herauskommen können. Wir wissen, dass wir nicht sicher sind: Wir sind oft genug mit den Schlagzeilen über Millionen von geleakten Konten und Profilen konfrontiert worden. Wir wissen um die Gefahren des Datendiebstahls. Man hat uns von Micro-Targeting und Massenmanipulationen erzählt und wir sind jedes Mal schockiert über die Dokumentationen.

Und während ich dies schreibe, verabrede ich mich mit meinen Freunden zu einem Treffen über einen gemeinsamen Messenger-Dienst, von dem ich weiß, dass er nicht sicher ist.

Ich überlasse es Dir, darüber nachzudenken und zu entscheiden, wie viel davon auf Dich persönlich zutrifft. Von nun an geht es aufwärts: Wir suchen schließlich nach Lösungen!

Digitale Würde

“Der Wert unserer digitalen Identitäten ist weitaus größer als das Geld, das damit verdient wird”.

Jetzt, wo das Internet in unserem täglichen Leben so alltäglich ist, müssen wir erkennen, dass die Online-Welt genauso Teil unserer Lebenserfahrung ist wie die analoge Welt. Daraus ergeben sich zwei sehr wichtige Konsequenzen, die wir ziehen müssen:

  1. Die Summe unserer persönlichen Daten ist eine vollständige Erinnerung an unsere Online-Erfahrungen: Sie ist unsere digitale Identität.
  2. Unserer digitalen Identität steht dasselbe unveräußerliche Recht zu, das uns allen als Mitgliedern der menschlichen Familie zusteht: Würde*. Digitale Würde ist die Souveränität über unsere Digitale Identität (* Allgemeine Erklärung der Menschenrechte)

Um Würde in unserer Online-Welt zu erlangen, müssen wir diese 3 Dinge nacheinander erreichen.

Einsicht, Souveränität und eine Möglichkeit, sinnvolle Verbindungen zwischen unseren digitalen Identitäten herzustellen.


Wir brauchen einfache Möglichkeiten, um einen vollständigen Überblick darüber zu erhalten, welche Informationen über uns verfügbar sind, entweder als Einzelperson oder als Teil einer Gruppe. Wir müssen wissen, wer über diese Informationen verfügt und was er von Rechts wegen damit tun kann.


Wir brauchen nicht-invasive, benutzerfreundliche Werkzeuge, um unsere zersplitterten digitalen Identitäten zu verwalten. In vielen Ländern brauchen wir immer noch eine sichere Rechtsstruktur, die unser Eigentum an digitalen Identitäten schützt.


Als Individuen wachsen wir durch unsere sinnvollen Verbindungen. Erlaube Deinem digitalen Selbst, das Gleiche zu tun. Auf Zugangsrechten basierende Vernetzungen zwischen digitalen Identitäten werden das Leben der Menschen radikal verbessern, damit sie sich wohlfühlen, etwas teilen, lernen, Geld verdienen und einen Beitrag zur Gesellschaft leisten können.

Your Digital Self

Das Ziel von Your Digital Self ist es nun, “Digitale Würde” (Digital Dignity) in die öffentliche Diskussion einzubringen und praktikable Modelle für Unternehmen zu entwickeln, um Digital Dignity für ihre Kunden zu erreichen.

Aber noch wichtiger ist, dass wir eine Reihe von Werkzeugen entwickeln, die Dir helfen können, ein Maß an Würde zu erreichen, mit dem Du dich wohlfühlst. Würde hat keine einheitliche Form, daher werden nicht alle Tools für Dich von Interesse sein, aber wir sind bestrebt, ein Toolkit mit Optionen für jede:n zu entwickeln. Wir sind ebenfalls der Meinung, dass Digital Dignity für jeden zugänglich sein sollte und planen, alle Tools und Informationen nach dem Konzept “Choose what you pay” “Wähle, was Du bezahlst” anzubieten.

Wir stellen vor: Persona

Persona maskiert Deine private E-Mail bei Online-Registrierungen, sagt Dir , wer Deine Daten weitergegeben hat und erhöht Deine Online-Sicherheit.

Erfahre hier mehr über unser erstes Tool: https://your-digital-self.com/persona/

Da wir alle Tools und Informationen gegen einen freiwilligen Beitrag zur Verfügung stellen wollen, freuen wir uns über jede Unterstützung, die Du uns geben kannst , während wir an der nächsten Entwicklung oder Veröffentlichung arbeiten. Besuche https://your-digital-self.com, um die Charta zu unterzeichnen, schaue  Dir die Optionen an, wenn Du der Sache beitreten willst oder zeige Deine Wertschätzung durch eine Spende.

Header Photo von Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Michiel Top
Michiel Top
While working on strategic positioning, marketing and sales programs for various companies, I was shocked again and again by how easily accessible private information actually is. Around 2017, when I was designing an online customer management system, it occurred to me how we could turn the tables. Then in mid-2020, when my own GDPR application to a well-known data enrichment company failed, I knew something had to be done.

The next phase of Your Digital Self

The next phase of Your Digital Self

Dear Your Digital Self-Community,

We’re delighted to tell you about the next phase of Your Digital Self!

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What happened after “Your Digital Profile”

Your Digital Profile gave us a unique insight. Yes, we each learned what data Germany’s largest Data Enrichment Company collects about us and about over 70 Million residents, but we learned something else that changed our view on the state of Personal Data globally dramatically.

We reached our target and collected €10.000 to build Your Digital Profile and many supporters added considerable donations to their pledge: people cared!
And then something interesting happened: Less than half of the supporters went online to complete the process and of those, only half ever logged in to look at the information.

We had to chew on that a bit, but slowly a picture started to emerge that we saw confirmed all around us: We care about the topic of personal data and we think something is wrong, but we personally don’t take action to change the way we behave online.

Why do we continue without change if we think it’s not right?

We became obsessed with this question, because we kept seeing it standing in the way of a change everywhere.
Projects that try to make things better for consumers and their data have a tendency to fail, amazing technical efforts and research struggle to catch the public eye but it feels like every second hollywood production is happy to joke about “technology companies own all our data”, which never fails to get more than its fair share of likes on Facebook.

The results we found are confrontational and hard to hear. But stay with us, we have a plan.

First the easy part: we’re comfortable.

The internet gives us a number of comforts. Easy communication with our friends, distracting pictures, easy navigation or a simple way to buy tickets. We know that these things are connected to the Data that we give in exchange for these comforts. We suspect, or even know, that the deal is not fair, but we don’t want to give up our comfort so we don’t dig too deep. And why would we?!

Second: the issue is too big

While the internet is a daily companion, how it actually works is a mystery for most people. What we do know is that parts are controlled by companies and institutions with impressive wealth and influence. While these companies make it easy for us to use the internet, they also dictate what we see, hear or read. It seems that for us to gain autonomy over our Digital Identity, so much needs to change!
It’s understandable to feel powerless against those odds.

Third: We’re hurt and we have lost trust.

Our digital selves are in a relationship where we feel something is not right, but we don’t know how we can get out. We know we’re not safe: we’ve been confronted with big headlines about millions of leaked accounts and profiles often enough. We know about the dangers of data theft. We’ve been told about micro-targeting and mass manipulation and we’ve been shocked about the documentaries every time.

And while I am typing this I am arranging with my friends to meet over a common messenger service that I know is not safe.
I will just leave this there for you to ponder about and decide how much of this applies to you personally. It’s onward and upward from here on: we’re looking for solutions, afterall!

Digital Dignity

“The value of our Digital Identities is far greater than the money that is being made with them.”

Now that the Internet is so common in our daily lives, we must realize that the online world is as much part of our lived experience as the analog world. There are two very important consequences that we must draw from there:

  1. The sum of our Personal Data is a complete recollection of our online experiences: it is our Digital Identity.
  2. Our Digital Identity is due that same inalienable right that we are all due as members of the human family: Dignity*. Digital Dignity is the sovereignty over your Digital Identity
    (* Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

To achieve dignity in our online world, we need to achieve these 3 things, one after the other.
Insight, Sovereignty and a way to make meaningful Connections between our Digital Identities.


We need to have easy options to get a complete overview of what information is available about us, either individually or as part of a group. We need to know who has that information and what, by right, they can do with it.


We need non-invasive, user friendly tools to manage our fractured Digital Identities. In many countries we still need a safe legal structure protecting our ownership over our Digital Identities.


As individuals, we grow through our meaningful connections. Allow our Digital Selves to do the same. Access-rights based connections between Digital Identities will radically improve people’s lives for comfort, sharing, learning, to earn and to contribute to society.

Your Digital Self

The objective of Your Digital Self is now to include “Digital Dignity” in public discussions and construct workable models for companies to achieve Digital Dignity for their customers.

But more importantly, we are building a number of tools that can easily help you achieve a level of Dignity Dignity that you feel comfortable with. Dignity has no uniformal style so not all of the tools will be of interest to you but we are dedicated to building a toolkit with options for everyone. We likewise believe that Digital Dignity should be available to everyone and are planning to provide all tools and information with a “choose what you pay” concept.

Introducing: Persona

Persona masks your private email in online registrations, tells you who shared your data and increases your online security.
Find out more about our first tool here: https://your-digital-self.com/persona/

Since we aim to provide all tools and info for a voluntary contribution, we’re happy for any support you can give us while we work on the next development or publication. Check out https://your-digital-self.com to sign the charter, check out options if you want to join the cause or show your appreciation by making a donation.

Header Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Michiel Top
Michiel Top
While working on strategic positioning, marketing and sales programs for various companies, I was shocked again and again by how easily accessible private information actually is. Around 2017, when I was designing an online customer management system, it occurred to me how we could turn the tables. Then in mid-2020, when my own GDPR application to a well-known data enrichment company failed, I knew something had to be done.

What is Digital Privacy & 7 Ways on How to Protect It in 2022

What is Digital Privacy & 7 Ways on How to Protect It in 2022

Are you worried about digital privacy and searching for ways to hide digital footprints? Does digital privacy concern you as data breaches are increasing with time, and you find plenty of digital privacy frauds?

If so, you’re not alone in this! Many people are unaware of how their personal information is collected, shared and used in our digital society. Your personal data, including your email address, social security number, and phone number, are worth a lot of money to businesses. In this era of uncertainty and heightened risk, it is significant to plan your digital privacy strategy. Due to this, people regard digital privacy greatly.

Luckily, it’s possible to live a private online life and maintain your digital security. You can protect your online privacy by making small & painless steps like making little changes to your online accounts and devices. You might have heard about digital privacy more than ever, but what does it really mean? No worries. In this article, we will explore what digital privacy is and seven proven ways to protect your privacy in 2022. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What is Privacy?

Privacy is a basic human right, essential to the protection of human dignity. Privacy enables us to protect ourselves from unwanted interferences in our lives, manipulations, and those who wish to exert control. Now, in this digital age, privacy is essential for the well-being of a free & just society. In a nutshell, it allows us to think freely and establish boundaries to limit who can access our things, places, information and communication.

But, what does privacy mean with the internet? Keep scrolling and read on to learn that.

What does Privacy mean, Digitally?

Digital privacy or internet privacy refers to protecting your personal, financial and browsing data while using the internet. It is a control of information about you or your business. Besides, it protects your online accounts, mobile devices, computers and internet-connected devices from intruders. Now, the need for digital privacy is more than ever because the number of data breaches has escalated ten times.

With the digital privacy definition, it is essential to explore the type of information that can be leaked, the threats to digital privacy and how you can keep your information private. Read on to find more.

The types of information

Photo by Mourizal Zativa on Unsplash

The type of information that companies can use and sell consists of data you share on online accounts or social media. It includes your email address, phone number, social security number, financial information, birthdate, business files, downloads, medical records, pictures, maps and search history.

Digital Privacy intends to protect your personal data shared online from malicious access. Anyone can track a computer’s IP address and monitor your actions. Digital mediums can leave digital footprints, and many don’t realize how this information can be used and stored. Before discussing the ways to protect yourself online, let’s take a look at threats to online privacy.

Threats to Digital Privacy

If you’re using the internet, your privacy is at risk due to browsing activities you might be unaware of. Here are some of the threats to digital privacy.

  • Identity theft through Phishing, malware, farming & hacking attacks
  • Cyber attacks
  • Cookies Proliferation
  • Cell phone GPS Functionality
  • Mobile app permissions and privacy

How to Protect Digital Privacy

Here comes the most awaited and significant part of the blog. If you’ve read it all, you have a better idea of digital privacy and its concerns. Now, the question is, how can I protect my privacy online? Below we’ve discussed the seven best digital privacy practices to adopt today. These effective ways will help you protect your financial & personal information and stay safe from data breaches

Be careful of what you share

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

First and foremost, look at your social media profiles and limit the information you share, regardless of what the site asks for. The more personal information you share online, the more people can scam you and get their hands on it.

Remember that less is more. Hackers use your digital footprints to track you. Therefore, be careful when sharing pictures, posts, or other personal information because oversharing on online platforms can be disastrous.

Cover your cameras

Cybercriminals can use your photos and videos through cameras for blackmailing. So, it is wise to cover your webcam and tablet’s cam with a seamless cover to reduce the risk of being recorded. You can also use coloured tape on your device’s camera instead of covers to prevent attackers from using your data.

Use a VPN

Photo by Petter Lagson on Unsplash

If you often work remotely and are fond of using public internet networks, you must use a VPN to protect your devices and data. Connecting your device to public networks and WIFI hotspots can leave your data vulnerable to cybercrime. Install a VPN extension on your browser or as an application on your mobile phone. Secure VPN encodes your browsing data and makes it unreadable to hackers.

Block online tracking with extensions

Google and Bing are the popular browsers that track a lot about you. Your browsers collect vast amounts of data about you by online tracking in the form of cookies. So, delete all the cookies and data from your activity dashboard regularly and switch to other secure search engines such as DuckDuckGo or incognito mode. Block the cookies with browser extensions such as AdBlock Plus and uBlock.These extensions will limit online tracking by a third party. It’ll shield your digital footprints and protect you from data breaches & identity theft.

Create Unique Passwords for each account – or use a Password Manager and enable Two-Factor Authentication

Photo by Volodymyr Kondriianenko on Unsplash

Unique passwords are a vital defense step in protecting your data online. Sometimes, it is the only protection against identity theft. Add strong and unique passwords with the combination of special characters to all of your devices and online accounts. Also, changing the passwords regularly and using different passwords for different accounts is highly recommended. Use the password manager to keep the passwords strong and secure for multiple accounts.

In addition, the most crucial step is to set up two-factor authentication in your login processes for every account. Two-factor authentication is another layer of protection for your online accounts and strong passwords.

Carefully review app privacy policies & app permissions

The other way of protecting your digital privacy that almost all the digital experts mentioned is to double-check app privacy policies and permissions. Carefully review whether it makes sense for an application to ask for specific permissions. If the app asks for access to data that is not relevant to its function, it’d be better off not accepting it as it is a warning sign.

Besides, notice your phone’s behavior and changings after installing the application. If the app is not behaving well and your battery time is decreasing, it means the app is running in the background, so delete it quickly. Furthermore, update privacy settings on social media profiles regularly.

Check data breach status

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Last but not least, check out whether your information is exposed in data breaches or not. Hackers and cybercriminals may have leaked or used data from at least any of your accounts, which can lead to identity theft. Check your data breach status by searching for your email address on Have I Been Pwned. You’ll know if your email address or phone number is in the data breach.

Bottom Line

Being online and using social media does not have to be scary, but internet privacy is critical in today’s modern age. You can be private in this online world & protect yourself or your business online by trying out these ways and using the tools.

Your digital privacy control starts with you, and you will have to take the steps and adopt healthy internet habits to protect yourself from data breaches and identity theft. With the guides from your digital self, you’ll learn how to surf online safely and protect your personal credentials.

Want to make your devices and digital identity more secure? Feel free to reach out to us. As digital security and privacy experts, we’ll provide you with the technical solutions to protect your digital identity and maintain digital excellence. Your digital self is committed to keeping you safe & secure and protecting your privacy.

Header photo by Antoine Beauvillain on Unsplash

Michiel Top
Michiel Top
While working on strategic positioning, marketing and sales programs for various companies, I was shocked again and again by how easily accessible private information actually is. Around 2017, when I was designing an online customer management system, it occurred to me how we could turn the tables. Then in mid-2020, when my own GDPR application to a well-known data enrichment company failed, I knew something had to be done.