Exploring the Impact of Digital Footprints: Cyber-vigilantism & Privacy Concerns

June 16, 2024 1 By Brodie Ziegler

In today’s hyper-connected world, our digital footprints are as significant as our physical ones. With every share, comment, like and post builds a digital profile that shapes our online identity. Although we notice the benefits our digital presence brings us, we must think about the disadvantages and challenges it can bring upon us as well. These challenges include cyber-vigilantism, privacy and the right to be forgotten.


Cyber-vigilantism is when people or groups take matters into their own hands online to expose or punish someone they think has done something wrong. When this happens it is often done by somebody finding personal information about someone and then shaming and/or harassing the person for it. Often times this is used when the legal system fails as a way to get justice but this can have tremendous negative effects. When cyber-vigilantism is used it is to spread false information and will make the situation worse. The targeted person has the potential to face the loss of a job, damage to their reputation and emotional pain.

In the TED talk shared with us in EDTC 300, “The Price of Shame” by Monica Lewinsky it talks about the personal toll of public shaming and cyberbullying. Her story highlights the impacts of cyber-vigilantism and the need for empathy and practicing restraint in our online interactions.

Digital Footprints

As we know, every action we take online contributes to our digital footprint. With the advanced technology our world has today, every social media post, comment or search engine queries will be traced. Digital footprints can reveal a lot about a person – it is honestly kind of scary. The data collected can be viewed by companies and governments and used without any consent.

This article outlines the criteria and processes involved in exercising the right to be forgotten. In the digital age we live in today, I believe this information is very important. I believe that somebody’s digital footprint should not determine their character or opportunities. It is unjust that something someone posted as a teenager could impact their career prospects at age 30. Employers and society should consider the context, growth and maturity that could have occurred over time rather than relying only on past digital activities.

My Digital Footprint…

During EDTC 300 we were put into breakout rooms and got to explore our own digital footprints. I am going to share what I found about myself.

The first thing that came up that was actually related to me was my Edusites account. I think that this is important as it would be a great thing for future employers to find! Next, the website for McDougall Auctioneers came up as I am currently employed there and am on their website under “Meet Our Team.” A few other things that came up are a few of my social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook. Overall, my digital footprint reflects a blend of personal and social connections.