A “digital footprint” refers to all the information available about a natural person in the digital infosphere.
As digitalization has progressed, the possibilities of transferring information from the analog infosphere, the entisphere and even the cognisphere into the digital infosphere have expanded. This has created new possibilities to capture information about a person, his or her actions and thoughts and to represent them in the digital infosphere. While active human activity was initially necessary to feed personal data into digital media, new technologies are emerging that can act as interfaces between the spheres, whereby information can now enter the digital infosphere without any intentional activity required – for example through the use of other digital devices or by sensors.
The term “digital footprint” seems to have emerged as a neologism with a metaphorical reference. A “digital footprint” is an informational representation of a human being in another medium, just as a footprint that shapes the contours and profile of the sole of a foot into the ground, thus leaving information about the living being and its movement in one medium. This is a partial mapping, since only parts of the information are recorded.