You are at an exciting juncture in your life and career! Many of the things you’re learning and doing at UC Irvine will provide a foundation for a very bright future! However, with these opportunities comes responsibility — including the obligation to protect your digital footprint. Let’s face it – we live, work and study in a very digital world. You can use this technological ecosystem to your advantage to develop an intellectual, creative and impressive digital identity.Here are some ways you can work to protect your digital identity:
Don’t give up your ownership.
Many of these services will allow you to upload photos, videos, documents – always know if you are giving up part (or all) of your ownership in the materials you upload.
Consider the future you.
Imagine what you’ll think a decade in the future when a potential employer searches for you and finds the information that you have posted in a third party tool.
Know your options.
Always know what you can and can’t do within a tool. For example, you might be asked for a photo even though it’s not required.
Think before you click ‘Agree.’
Each of those long and involved terms of service are actually a binding agreement between you and the tool provider. It’s always a good idea to know what you are agreeing to do or provide.
It’s OK to assume the worst.
In fact, it’s best to assume that whatever information goes to or through the tool may become public.
Be aware of company changes.
Companies can be acquired, change business models or go out of business. Even if you keep local copies of critical data, what happens to your data if, say, the company that was hosting your data shuts down?
Ask your instructor for options.
If your instructor has opted to use a cloud-based tool that is not covered by a UCI agreement and you are not comfortable using the tool, ask your instructor for an alternative. Do not assume that you are required to store your information in an external tool.
Ultimately, you are creating an identity – a persona that people will be able to find and explore for years to come. You have the power to determine the kind and quantity of your information that is stored in cyberspace… act wisely!