Detoxification is important, be it your body or your digital accounts. Purposely or not, we often create so many accounts on various websites, leave our credentials there, 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 ‘I Agree’. While the modern lifestyle has made it almost impossible for us to disconnect from the internet, there are certain ways which 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 the toxic data build up. Mozilla together with Tactical Tech has launched a program called Data Detox which effectively removes any toxic data build up and detoxes your computer system. It is a simple program which 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 indeed is the toxic build-up.
While we may think that why anyone would be interested in the places we shop or the café we had 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 living 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 what the Data Detox program is 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 emails accounts. Then, clear your browser history by following the steps given below. Please make a 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 when you have cleaned everything, type your name into 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 what’s out there on the public internet.
In fact, 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.
If you see your image uploaded to anyone’s social media account or any website, you can always ask the owner to take it down. 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 still might be lurking somewhere, maybe on someone’s social media account or maybe on the cloud.
Day 2: Everything in one place
The second step is about 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. Just go to My Activity page on Google and sign in to your Google account. Here you can see all your activities done 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
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’.
Now, when you get your data shared 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 all 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. There are trackers 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 the 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 is our data build-up, and more companies have our details. So the App Cleanup helps you getting rid of all those unwanted apps which have been 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 really need it. 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 about why and how the web platforms collect and use your data for advertising. This step helps you understand how your interests are recorded by the social networking websites and then sold to the advertising companies to show you the relevant ads.
Day 8: Create a new you
This is the final step of Data Detox, and it tells you about how to maintain your Digital Lifestyle. Settings goals, 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.
Posts you may want to read:
- Find out what Google knows about you
- Check what Facebook knows about you.