dan lasota's masters in education portfolio for online innovation and design
A typical Apache Web Server log looks line many many lines of text; Each line contains information about a request for information and the result of the web server trying to fulfill that request. I took this from my web server and asked for the last 50 requests. The first entry is the IP number of the machine/device/person requesting it. 137.229.whatever are University of Alaska numbers. Then there is the time/date stamp. Followed by the actual http request, usually a GET, but sometimes a POST. In most cases there are path names to images, articles, etc that are on the web server. The last two numbers are the result code (200 is ok, 404 is not there, etc), the last number is the size of the resource in bytes.
I posted this because of the discussion on digital footprints in ED 431. This is what my server, which runs Apache, tracks. The majority of web servers in the world track similar information. Most web servers, mine included, do not keep these logs forever. Mine is set to delete logs older than 30 days. Some servers keep them around for longer.
Some web sites do track a lot more. But not every web site tracks or is even interested in who you are. Only the most basic information is kept, and only for a short while. This would fall into Allison’s description of foot prints in the sand rather than those cast in concrete. But Allison does make a good point about the growing lack of privacy and the blurred lines between what some companies think is user experience and what becomes profit motive. We must pay attention to who tracks what, by understanding it we can chose to opt-in or out as the case may be, or abandon or refuse to participate in some social networks.