I’m not quite sure what to title this section. Many speak of this concept as digital identity persistence, yet often it’s not the person that is subject to ‘web persistence’ but rather the machine or home network address that provides persistent information about the characteristics of a user; regardless of who the actual user is.
This can end-up with an array of unfortunate situations. A father, mother or other adult in a household who enjoys adult material; may unwittingly alter the website advertising being provided to others in the household who use the same internet connection (children included!). Families who share machines and the accounts set-up in those machines may create web-experiences that pollinate in different ways irrespective of the user at the time.
These issues pertain to what i’ll call ‘web persistence’ in describing the circumstance that the use of internet is tracked by operators of the internet who work with whatever information they can get, altering the use of internet on that machine, in that location, from whatever account on the machine the user is using; in an effort sought by them to make money through your use of internet and they do this through the use of identifiers, and ‘scraps’ of information left-over from previous uses in relation to those identifiers. The systems that collect this information is not simply the website you intend to go to, but also the services that websites uses as part of providing the functionality delivered by the sites you visit. When thinking about this from a security point of view, the term that is used is ‘vectors’. The concept being ‘attack vectors’ or ‘security vectors’ or other forms of ‘vectors’ that can be used to trace, track and identify.
An easy way to understand the different ways this may occur is by considering the OSI Model.
Parts of this digital fingerprint includes your User Account, the host IP Address used by the network you are able to be sent webpages from publicly and the information stored by your browser, such as cookies, or login information within your browser that websites may use to infer you were using the internet in a particular way; regardless of whether it was you at your keyboard or someone else.