Guest post by Sasha Ockenden, Communications Coordinator, Tactical Tech
The below is a guest post from “Tactical Tech” – a non-profit organisation which exists to help people grapple with the impact of technology.
A comment from Tactical Tech was featured in our recent publication, “Fake News and Racism in the Wild West of Newspaper comment sections”.
Tactical Tech is an international NGO that engages with citizens and civil society organisations to explore and mitigate the impacts of technology on society. This article outlines our Data Detox Kit, and how it can help you with your digital security, privacy and wellbeing, as well as countering online misinformation.
You don’t have to spend long on the internet to come across something toxic, from online abuse to the hacking of personal data to hate speech and misinformation. Hacked Off has campaigned since 2011 on many of these issues, including providing support to victims of press intrusion and campaigning against mis- and disinformation in the media on a national level. Detoxifying the digital world can sometimes seem like an insurmountable task in the current climate – but there are practical steps anyone can take on an individual level to effect change. Even if you’re Hacked Off, you can protect yourself from getting hacked.
The Data Detox Kit is a free, accessible and interactive resource available online and in print. It exists in 20 languages (and counting!) from Basque to Urdu, with step-by-step guides, downloadable resources and advice for users of all ages and levels of technological ability. The Kit covers five main areas: Privacy, Security, Wellbeing, Misinformation, and a new section for Youth & Families.
- Protect Your Privacy
Keep your private life private by ‘degooglising’, decluttering your phone, or fortifying your internet browser. In the Privacy section of the Kit, you’ll learn about which personal data is collected and by whom, with special guides to use when you’re voting, protesting – and even dating.
- Stay Secure
The Security section will teach you how to stay secure online by strengthening your passwords, choosing the right screen lock, cleaning up your virtual valuables, and more. If the worst comes to the worst and you become a victim of hacking, you’ll find out how to respond to data breaches, too.
- Take Care of Your Digital Self
A Data Detox isn’t just about staying safe. The holistic Wellbeing section also helps you build positive habits online, from learning how to burst your personal ‘filter bubble’, to preventing technology taking over your life. You’ll also learn what you can do about smartphones and websites designed to keep you hooked and manipulate your decisions.
- True or False?
The Misinformation section will help you separate fact from fiction by identifying, avoiding and countering ‘fake news’, as well as misinformation around health issues, such as coronavirus conspiracies. As Hacked Off has shown, online misinformation pervades social media, conventional media and even newspaper comment sections; these guides will help you fight back on an individual level.
- Data Detox x Youth
The benefits of a Data Detox don’t just apply to adults: it’s more important than ever that the next generation knows how to navigate the internet safely and sustainably. The Youth & Families section contains a specially adapted version of the Data Detox Kit for young people aged 11-16 – as well as tips for parents about managing children’s screen time.
Last but not least, if you want a quick overview of free, open-source apps, browsers and messaging services recommended by Tactical Tech to help keep control of your data, take a look at our Alternative App Centre!
As Hacked Off continues its campaign for an accountable and equitable press which respects the privacy of individuals – be they celebrities or ordinary citizens – and rejects online misinformation, it is worth remembering that there are simple steps all of us can take to detox our digital presence.