Browse Definitions :
Definition

digital tattoo

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

With more than one meaning, a digital tattoo is to a temporary tattoo that is outfitted with electronics, such as sensors or a near field communication (NFC) chip. A digital tattoo also refers to the permanent nature of a person’s actions and communications online, also known as a digital footprint.

The first physical digital tattoos were NFC-equipped to enable communication of data like information from the wearer’s website or Facebook or Snapchat profiles. To access the user-selected information, a third party could just tap the tattoo on their smartphone.

The tattoos can also tie into tap-to-pay methods, providing the ability to identify oneself and pay for goods and services at NFC-enabled points of sale without carrying any device or a wallet. While there have been concerns about privacy, developers have assuaged doubts by ensuring that the chips can encrypt data.

The basic design for a digital tattoo is a graphic image that covers a small, flexible NFC chip on the wearer’s skin, sometimes small enough to fit on a fingertip. The NFC chip has a small amount of memory that can be accessed through a smartphone app and used for various purposes. Often the tattoo itself is metallic with an antenna. The tattoos can last up to a week and may cost little more than a standard temporary tattoo, chip included.

Microsoft partnered with MIT on a digital tattoo project that has a variety of paths. The devices can last a day on a charge and offer a number of types of antennas for different uses and communication ranges. The Microsoft design also offers options like thermally changing colors, which could be used to indicate the user’s body temperature. More complex digital tattoo designs can be used as touchscreens, among other possibilities.

A digital tattoo can also refer to the record of someone’s actions and communications online and its permanence, like a physical tattoo. More commonly known as a digital footprint, the body of data that exists as a result of online actions and communications can in some way be traced back to an individual. Once the data is made public, especially on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it is relatively impossible to control. Digital footprint management (DFM) focuses on cautioning about online activities to curb the amount of data that can be gathered from online use. 

An example of spreading digital tattoo awareness is the University of British Columbia’s project called Digital Tattoo, which is an online privacy and security initiative designed to improve student awareness about online risks.

This was last updated in March 2018

Continue Reading About digital tattoo

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

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • brute force attack

    Brute force (also known as brute force cracking) is a trial and error method used by application programs to decode encrypted ...

  • spyware

    Spyware is software that is installed on a computing device without the user's knowledge. Spyware can be difficult to detect; ...

  • ATM black box attack

    An ATM black box attack, also referred to as jackpotting, is a type of banking-system crime in which the perpetrators bore holes ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • warm site

    A warm site is a type of facility an organization uses to recover its technology infrastructure when its primary data center goes...

  • disaster recovery (DR) test

    A disaster recovery test (DR test) is the examination of each step in a disaster recovery plan as outlined in an organization's ...

SearchStorage

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data...

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object ...

  • optical storage

    Optical storage is any storage type in which data is written and read with a laser. Typically, data is written to optical media, ...

Close