Citizens' digital footprint

Citizens' digital footprint

While interacting with digital information systems, citizens create an increasing trail of personal and individual data. These data are recorded and possibly archived somewhere, owned by someone, and potentially used in various ways. The rise of mobile communication and applications, of online communities and of social networking together with more diffused geo-location services, augment the risks of misusing these data, and the vulnerability of the citizen. Citizens will find their digital information being used in ways they had not foreseen when they submitted it. The JRC is investigating the impacts of these emerging technologies and societal trends on the citizen safety and security perspective.

JRC's research takes into account the following three elements, which are almost always present when a user interact with the digital society, and contain all specific risks:

  • Digital identification between Citizen and Processes - Who is involved?

It covers questions such as: Is the interacting profile the right one (the right individual)? Is the service or application provider also the correct one? It covers also issues connected to stolen profiles, identities, credentials, authentication and security protocols.

  • Citizen Digital Data - What information is dealt with?

It relates to the individual data and encompasses aspects like data protection, data security, data access and rights and the data lifecycle. Also the growing concern regarding secondary or derived use of data (user profiling, behavioural engineering…).

  • Digital Processing - How is the information processed?

It looks at the large variety of interaction processes that allow a digital profile (citizen) to interact and create data that can be re-processed: mobile applications, cloud services, use of smart cards, RFID tags and e-payments.