Facebook and google have profiles set up improve based on who they think you are in order to sell you to advertisers, and you can access these profiles by heading to your Ad Preferences. Google knows how old i am and thats about it (or so it seems). Facebook also doesnt know me as well as I thought it would; i inexplicably work for healthcare and medical services and Im also allegedly into car racing and first-person shooter games. It does, however, correctly know about all the devices i own and thinks Im an early technology adopter and engaged shopper. This helps Facebook know what to advertise to you thats why when you update facebook on milestones in your life, whether its a new job, new partner, new baby youre telling them that your spending habits are about to change. Theres something darker about this data collection, however. Psychometric profiling uses this data to gauge how you might vote or feel about certain members of society. Facebook has allowed advertisers to reach Jew Haters or exclude users by race.
Anything more than 40 apps suggests that youre quite heavily exposed to data collection, and so a simple way to start a data diet would be to delete the ones you essay no longer use. But there are always going to be apps that you feel like you cant live without and, for me, theyre my social media apps. Their privacy settings can still be tightened, though. Equally, have you thought about an alternative app that offers the same service but might not make money off your data? One example the detox gives is skype. Other apps, such as Jitsi meet and Signal, would allow you to communicate in a similar way but they keep your chats non-commercial, free and open source. View image of (Credit: Ramon Paris/mozilla/Tactical Technology collective) day 7: who do they think you are?
The other obvious bugbear is location data; as well as turning off wi-fi and Bluetooth when you dont need them you can also minimise the amount of rich location insights youre handing away for free to data collectors. Investigating your phones location services is a wake-up call because it can show anyone who has access to that information where you live and work, where you go to in your spare time and, essentially, the sort of life that you lead. Imagine the possible implications for this. For a start, every wi-fi network you connect to sees a list of the other networks youve connected to in the past, and most networks are given an easily identifiable name. Your current employer could, theoretically, see that youve been secretly interviewing for a job at their competitor; can the person youre dating see all your other dates' wi-fi networks? What about your partner? Day 6: cleaning up, a large contributor to data bloating is the number of apps you have on your mobile in the first place.
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Those are just the visible trackers, too; there are plenty of invisible ones also monitoring your online behaviour. If a company has trackers across lots of websites, they can get an excellent impression of your browsing habits. Your default privacy settings arent too private to begin with, so the detox marketing advises how you might adjust them, or instead set your browsing mode to Private, such as on Safari, or to Chromes Incognito to stop your search history from being stored. Add-ons and extensions can also be downloaded which stop invisible trackers from spying on you. When visiting websites, starting the url with https rather than http additionally makes sure that your communication is encrypted. The detox, however, makes one warning: Private/Incognito browsing just prevents you sharing certain things with trackers and websites; it doesnt make you anonymous on the internet!
Day 5: connecting, your phones approach to existence is to broadcast continuously on every available open channel: Im here! and to try and connect to any signals provision it can, says the data detox Kit. Our phones are on a constant lookout for wi-fi and Bluetooth networks. If youve called your phone johns Phone then imagine how many people youre already telling your name to? This is where serious fun ensues by renaming your phone. Every wi-fi network you connect to sees a list of the other networks youve connected to in the past.
Look, i know Im online a lot, but I do have an offline life too, thank you very much. It turns out that, in reality, google is my bff. The detox asks you what information you share with google, and then asks if you would also share that information with your best friend. I use Chrome, docs, Gmail, Translate, and Maps, which means and this is where you take a deep breath Im telling google where i am, what device Im using, what Im curious about, what Im working on, what Im emailing people, which bank, doctor. My best friend knows a lot about me, but she doesnt know that much. I also dont have an Android phone if you do, your recorded audio search requests are also being logged.
So, google knows what your voice sounds like too. You can delete the activity that google stores, which the detox tells you how. Day 3: how well does facebook know you? This day was quite interesting because i realised how much Im not really posting on Facebook at all anymore. The context collapse that started to worry the social media company last year has meant that Im unconsciously categorising what I post and where, and while as 12-year-olds my friends and I were posting everything that we did onto our Facebook walls, Im now posting. For many, this has left a digital graveyard of embarrassing childhood posts and photographs on your Facebook profile. Is it time to untag yourself, or ask friends to take things down? Day 4: searching surfing, every time you like something on Facebook and Twitter, youre letting third party companies know the pages you visit, what you like to click and your ip address through trackers.
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DuckDuckgo is a non-commercial site, meaning that unlike google it has no interest in collecting information from your search history or providing you with personalised results (and so using it reduces your data bloat). It does, however, autocomplete your sentences using other sources, notably yahoo, bing and Yandex. While google tried to finish my search entry saying paperless Sophia smith Galer bbc, duckDuckgo suggested Sophia smith Galer liberal. I can speculate fairly wildly about why someone, at some point, searched for that; is it who i work for, the sort of pieces I write, that one time i got hounded on Reddit? But it did shed some light on the influence of what other peoples search entries can make on my digital self, and thats quite disarming. Day 2: everything in one place. Is google your bff?, the data detox needed innocuously asks.
Heres what I found out. View image of (Credit: Ramon Paris/mozilla/Tactical Technology collective). Day 1: discovery, the first day is, essentially, about scaring you into realising how much of you is online via search engines. As an online journalist and a millennial it turns out a lot of my life manager is online, and its something Im generally ok with. By clearing your browsing history, you can google yourself as if you were a stranger; that way, you can see the sort of images and links that are associated with you online. Im happy with my results, but thats because Im responsible for putting almost all of the content on there myself. Nothing too alarming turned up until I started experimenting with alternative search engines.
about exploring and tidying up your digital life. The first day is, essentially, about scaring you. It was designed by the non-profit groups mozilla and the tactical Technology collective to coincide with. The Glass room, a pop-up experience in London that invited visitors to look at what happens to their data behind the scenes. They recognise that we cant transform years of online behaviour instead, the detox is about trying to help us make more informed data choices in the future. In less than half an hour every day, over the course of eight days, people can slim down their data bloat with easy, practical steps, the curators of The Glass room told. We hope that the data detox Kit will help people think differently about data collection. Intrigued, i decided to give their kit a go, which you can also do yourself here.
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