Browse Definitions :
Definition

digital identity

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A digital identity is the body of information about an individual, organization or electronic device that exists online.

Unique identifiers and use patterns make it possible to detect individuals or their devices. This information is often used by website owners and advertisers to identify and track users for personalization and to serve them targeted content and advertising.

A digital identity arises organically from the use of personal information on the web and from the shadow data created by the individual’s actions online. A digital identity may be a pseudonymous profile linked to the device’s IP address, for example, or a randomly-generated unique ID. Digital identities are seen as contextual in nature since a user gives selective information when providing authentication information.

Examples of data points that can help form a digital identity include:

  • Username and password
  • Purchasing behavior or history
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Online search activities, such as electronic transactions
  • Medical history

Because a profile often includes aspects of a person’s actual identity, digital identities come with privacy and security risks, including identity theft. Pseudonymous profiles can also yield an individual’s identity through cross-site data analysis. While passports and licenses identify users in real life, the inclusion of such personally identifying information (PII) online may pose more risks than benefits for the user. Several authentication and authorization systems have been explored, but there is still no standardized and verified system to identify digital identities.

This was last updated in August 2017

Continue Reading About digital identity

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • spyware

    Spyware is a type of malicious software -- or malware -- that is installed on a computing device without the end user's knowledge.

  • application whitelisting

    Application whitelisting is the practice of specifying an index of approved software applications or executable files that are ...

  • botnet

    A botnet is a collection of internet-connected devices, which may include PCs, servers, mobile devices and internet of things ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

  • DRAM (dynamic random access memory)

    Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a type of semiconductor memory that is typically used for the data or program code needed ...

  • RAID 10 (RAID 1+0)

    RAID 10, also known as RAID 1+0, is a RAID configuration that combines disk mirroring and disk striping to protect data.

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

Close