Tech

Putting the data detox kit to the test

Like everyone else I have been spending a LOT more time online this year out of necessity. The more time I spend online, the stronger my desire to control and limit the data I produce, at least for personal interactions…

So, I am putting the Data Detox Kit to the test… you can, too, see https://datadetoxkit.org/en/home .

Step 1 (for me): Control your smartphone data to increase your online privacy

My first task is to rename my phone… i.e to change the device name. Done!

Next up, CLEAR YOUR LOCATION FOOTPRINTS… I already have all the recommended settings enabled and don’t allow any apps on my phone to access location services without asking, so that’s an easy step for me.

Now, reviewing apps I never use. “Getting rid of those random apps on your phone that you never use can be a powerful way to detox your digital self.”

Let’s see… the first app I delete is for train tickets and timetables. I haven’t used it since March. Also, Skype for Business can go. I am not sure that still exists. That’s it – I am not a heavy app user. There is an “app cleanse” option for those who are.

Step 2: I head to “Renovate my social media profile”

First, I try out some of the suggestions to get a sense of how much my social media knows about me. I head to Instagram first:

The results are not surprising for me: I like tights, running leggings, beds!… When I explore my Ad Topic Preferences, I can pick to see more or fewer adds related to… alcohol, parenting and pets. Err… .

Profile pics. OK. The guidance explains:

Do you use the same profile picture across various accounts online? Reverse image searches like TinEye or Google Image Search (1) can help people easily connect the dots about the services you use.

https://datadetoxkit.org/en/privacy/profile/

I used to have the same profile pic for everything. Recently I moved to the same pic for work related accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, Work email) and different pics for everything else (Facebook, Instagram, messenger apps).

One suggestion that resonates with me is “get off the app and onto the browser”.

That is a good idea. I no longer have Twitter or LinkedIn on my phone. Instead I use a browser on my computer mostly during work hours.

I still use facebook via an app however, and I am considering that at the moment. I head to the suggested ad settings and check what’s happening with my data.

I already have wholly private accounts and only share information with Friends, but even that group can seem too large at times.

So… with that in mind, I do a bit of a clean up.

Step 3: Personal social media clean up

In order to do any of that, I need to reset my facebook password. Useful to be reminded how I haven’t done that in a while.

I delete an old Twitter account, which is easy enough.

Deleting Instagram accounts proves much harder! There is useful guidance but I don’t find it straight forward to follow. In the end, I delete all of my Instagram accounts. Making a fresh start might be a good idea. Separate accounts for separate things. No more joined up-ness.

I don’t wish to keep my data from Instagram, as I have all the images I ever posted, but here is a guide to deleting accounts whilst keeping your data.

One last thing I do is the clear my browser history and website data on my phone’s browser (the work one is usually pretty clear as I do a monthly clean up of that).

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