Detoxification is important, be it your body or your digital accounts. Purposely or not, we often create many accounts on various websites, leave our credentials, and forget. We hardly remember those less important accounts we have made over the internet or the terms and conditions we have agreed to by clicking on I Agree. While the modern lifestyle has made it almost impossible for us to disconnect from the internet, certain ways give us more control over our online personas. Data Detox is one of such wonderful ways to regain control over your digital accounts.
What is Data Detox
Data Detox is an 8-day cleansing program from Mozilla which removes toxic data build-up. Mozilla and Tactical Tech have launched a program called Data Detox which effectively removes any toxic data build-up and detoxes your computer system. It is a simple program that asks for a small time commitment daily.
Why do we need Data Detox?
Every day while we browse, search, chat, like a post, tag a location, upload or download something from the internet, it is saved. In short, whatever we do online is tracked and stored somewhere, which is a toxic build-up.
While we may wonder why anyone would be interested in the places we shop, the café we have a coffee or the movie we searched for, remember that nothing goes unnoticed. All this data is stored and then used. The Data Detox program helps you live a balanced digital life by removing all your toxic data build-up online.
Read: What information is available about you on the internet when online?
How does Data Detox work
This is an 8-day program, and each day has a different focus and a different challenge. You begin with discovery, where you learn about the Data Detox program, and the focus changes with each day.
Day 1: Find and Delete Your Data
The first day is all about finding your personas on the internet and deleting it. Start with the browser cleaning. To do so, you first need to log out of all your social media accounts and email accounts. Then, clear your browser history by following the steps given below. Please note that you will lose all your browsing history, so bookmark the web pages you want to keep. Also, all your saved passwords and autofill entries will be lost.
- Firefox: ‘Library’ menu > History > Clear Recent History > Time range to clear: Everything.
- Chrome: menu > History > Clear browsing data > Clear the following items from the beginning of time.
Now that you have cleaned everything type your name into the Google search engine and check the results. You can also use other search engines like DuckDuckGo or Startpage. Also, carry out an image search by uploading your image. This way, you will have a clearer view of the public internet.
There is a better idea, search for your name before clearing the browsing history and then search it after clearing and compare the results. For image search, you can use TinEye or Google image search.
Delete the images
Now, when you see any of your objectionable pictures anywhere on the internet, try deleting them. You can easily delete the images appearing on your social media accounts, but what about the images you don’t have control over?
You can always ask the owner to take it down if you see your image uploaded to anyone’s social media account or website. Or you can also request Google to omit your image from search results through a “right to be forgotten” request. You can use Google’s “EU Privacy Removal” webform for the same.
Note: The Internet doesn’t easily forget, and your deleted image might still lurk somewhere, maybe on someone’s social media account or the cloud.
Day 2: Everything in one place
The second step concerns the data you share with Google and its various products like Chrome, Search, Cloud, Docs, Forms, Gmail, Translate, YouTube, Hangouts, and Maps. You can easily check all your activities on the Google platform. Go to My Activity page on Google and sign in to your Google account. You can see all your activities on the internet using any of the Google products. You can also see the activities done on other devices.
So now, when you have checked all your activities on Google, you can delete the ones you don’t want to appear on the internet anywhere. Go to your Privacy Checkup page and adjust the settings to make it more in control.
Day 3: Being Social
The next step is to check your data spread on the social networking website. Facebook is one of the most popular social networking websites; thus, this step is all about your images stored on Facebook, your account, or others’. To check out your data publicly available on Facebook, you can use this Chrome extension named ‘What Facebook Thinks You Like’.
When you share your data with the general public via your Facebook account, it’s time to delete it. It is also recommended to strengthen your Facebook privacy settings and check who can see your pictures or tag you in some pictures. Check and untag yourself from all the unwanted pictures.
Day 4: Search and Surf
Our browser contributes big time to data build-up. Trackers are sitting behind the browsers, which track all our searching and surfing behaviors, like the pages we visit, links we click, what we search for, and our IP address. Data Detox suggests a tool named Panopticlick to analyze the extent to which your browser can protect tracks. Detect and Detox your Browser.
Day 5: Smartphone Detox
A smartphone is something we are always connected with – thus, it is the prime producer of data build-up, and Day 5 is all about Smartphone Detox. Check what all data is built up and delete it. Cleaning up the mobile browsing data, turning off the location sharing, using a private browser mode, and strengthening the privacy settings are some of the steps on Day 5 of Data Detox.
Day 6: Apps Cleanup
Day 6 is all about the cleanup of the data build-up by your apps. All of us have so many apps installed on our phones. The more apps we have, the more our data build-up, and the more companies have our details. So App Cleanup helps you eliminate all those unwanted apps clogging your phone and contributing to the data buildup. Just take a critical look at all the apps installed on your device and think if you need them. Delete the unwanted apps, and you are done with the 6th step of Data Detox.
Day 7: Why do they collect our data?
So the 7th step of Data Detox tells you why and how the web platforms collect and use your data for advertising. This step helps you understand how your interests are recorded by social networking websites and then sold to advertising companies to show you the relevant ads.
Day 8: Create a new you
This is the final step of Data Detox, which tells you how to maintain your Digital Lifestyle. Settings goals and keeping the data detox fresh by regular maintenance are some steps included here.
Get your Data Detox Kit here and start removing the toxic data build-up.
Also read: Find out what Google knows about you.
Is digital detox effective?
Many of us are stressed out because we spend so much time in front of screens. A digital detox may relieve the pressure of constant connection to electronic devices. In addition to improving your sleep, relationships, and mood, a digital detox may also help you manage stress.
Why digital detox is hard?
Taking a digital detox is hard because it deprives the brain of the rewarding chemicals produced by the digital world. You are unlikely to succeed in disconnecting from digital just by using your willpower.