Day #6, Data Detox

Getting back to this after a weekend break and did a quick #datadetox today; good resources to return back to do more. First question was how may Apps do I have on my phone … so I counted. 

141! Yikes.

According to the Data Detox Tactical Collective, I have very high exposure to data collection, ie. “The more apps you have, the more your data builds up, and the more companies have access to it.”

So my first challenge was to delete the ones that I don’t use anymore. I now have about 1/3 of what I did and I need to do a bit more. But it’s a good start and the phone feels so much lighter!

The second challenge is to adjust my privacy settings on my phone which I’d already kind of done. Finally I was introduced to the Alternative App Centre where I can find many apps that do what my apps may do but these don’t collect information. Very cool.

I already have and semi-use one of these; Signal. It encrypts text messages. I downloaded it after the last election. Find me at seecantrill there.

Day #6, Data Detox

Getting back to this after a weekend break and did a quick #datadetox today; good resources to return back to do more. First question was how may Apps do I have on my phone … so I counted. 

141! Yikes.

According to the Data Detox Tactical Collective, I have very high exposure to data collection, ie. “The more apps you have, the more your data builds up, and the more companies have access to it.”

So my first challenge was to delete the ones that I don’t use anymore. I now have about 1/3 of what I did and I need to do a bit more. But it’s a good start and the phone feels so much lighter!

The second challenge is to adjust my privacy settings on my phone which I’d already kind of done. Finally I was introduced to the Alternative App Centre where I can find many apps that do what my apps may do but these don’t collect information. Very cool.

I already have and semi-use one of these; Signal. It encrypts text messages. I downloaded it after the last election. Find me at seecantrill there.

Day #5, Data Detox

Day #5 is pretty rad and all about your phone and the #infosphere around us. I downloaded The Architecture of Radio which shows me these photos of what is around me in terms of a info systems, etc. In these screenshots you can see that there are a lot of cell towers, wifi (oops, less captured here, but I could see them too), GPS, other satellites (US, Russia, Direct TV). I am also sharing my direct location at this time so I erased that part out … don’t want to toxify things while I detox!

I can’t help but wonder what all this does to our brains and to the larger ecosystem/biosphere; not to mention all the space things/space junk floating around this planet. 

My other favorite part was the simple act of renaming my phone. It’s now named “Marcy the Cat has beautiful green eyes” just because that makes me happy to might make others happy too.

Here is Marcy the Cat btw:

Day #5, Data Detox

Day #5 is pretty rad and all about your phone and the #infosphere around us. I downloaded The Architecture of Radio which shows me these photos of what is around me in terms of a info systems, etc. In these screenshots you can see that there are a lot of cell towers, wifi (oops, less captured here, but I could see them too), GPS, other satellites (US, Russia, Direct TV). I am also sharing my direct location at this time so I erased that part out … don’t want to toxify things while I detox!

I can’t help but wonder what all this does to our brains and to the larger ecosystem/biosphere; not to mention all the space things/space junk floating around this planet. 

My other favorite part was the simple act of renaming my phone. It’s now named “Marcy the Cat has beautiful green eyes” just because that makes me happy to might make others happy too.

Here is Marcy the Cat btw:

Day #4, Data Detox

Today my #datadetox was a walk through data trackers and a set of #trackerbusters. I appreciate this Data Detox process because it allows me to try some new tools that would take me forever to find, figure out and assess on my own. 

First I started with a set of EFF tools and tested my data privacy/web tracking protection on Chrome. Well, not so good:

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I looked at this “fingerprint” thing too and truthfully, I don’t understand it. Will need to come back to learn more.

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Then I installed Privacy Badger as EFF suggested, on both Chrome and FF. Then ran another test. Whoo hoo! (Again, still don’t get fingerprints, but anyway, it’s better).

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The challenge for the day is to try a tool called AdNauseum which apparently clicks on Ads invisibly, therefore rendering my data results random and useless I anyone. I decided to install that on FF where I am doing my personal browsing now. And that will also let me see how it compares to browsing on Chrome without it.

Anyway it’s apparently not working on Chrome right now – see:

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Fascinating the things you learn about doing #datadetox!

Makes me go back to thinking about the alternative business models out there or that could be developed online that move us beyond this sole focus on advertising and behavior modification techniques; a focus which makes tools like this necessary. Also reminds me of the publication/movement called Adbusters.

Day #3, Data Detox

Today was Facebook #datadetox day. I started with what Facebook knows, or thinks it knows about me, and how that influences the ads it serves me, etc. You can start by using an extension called “What Facebook Thinks You Like in the (ironic, I know) Chrome Web Store.

Some of this surprised me or seems just totally random. Here are my interests reflected in business and industry – you can hover over and find out why these interests have been connected to you. It ranges from things that I liked, to apps that I downloaded (on my iphone, not fb), to really seemingly useless interests like “Student” or “House” that simply say that I clicked on something that indicated that I am interested in those things. 

You can then click on “Student” and get some example ads that people with this category will also see. Not sure what to make of this set really.

What’s nice is with this extension I’m now using I have the choice to remove this (and I did).

Here is my “About you” screenshot and related summary: According to FB, I am a “very liberal” frequent traveler born in September who has an African American multicultural affinity as well as uses a number of Apple devices.

DD then moves you through looking at FB Settings and making some edits there – for example, I did decide to turn off my open setting to search engines, so now it’s less likely my FB content will come up in an open web search. I didn’t change what my friends see and how public the content is that I share at FB. I’m pretty conscious, I think, of what I share. I just decided I don’t need it to be crawled all the time by search engines.

You also get a chance to look at your FB activity and I did that but again, I really didn’t change anything. I did download another extension, Data Selfie, to both Chrome and Firefox at DD recommendation; I will come back to that in a week an see what it tells me.

ps. An update on day #2 – In a conversation with colleagues about the challenge of shifting to an entirely new browser and the related workflow dependencies, I’m going for an in-between, ie. that I will use Firefox for my personal gmail and activities and then Chrome at work and for my teaching. So just fyi and in case that idea is helpful to you too.

Day #2 (almost), Data Detox

Spent the ½ hour this morning doing my #datadetox which is really about finding out how much Google knows about you and getting a handle on your privacy settings within your browser (which recently has been Chrome for me). After doing my one Gmail account/persona in Chrome though, I realize I still need to do my other accounts! I use four different emails (2 gmail, 2 not but gmail-linked) across three different Chrome personas, and each needs to be be detoxed separately.

Is Google my BFF? That’s their question. Still not sure how I’d answer that (since my BFF is more than someone I share things with, but anyway) … Chrome clearly knows A LOT about me. And my activity is all very clearly tracked here in Chrome (see activity.google.com to see your own).

Interesting that when you go to manage your activity, the way that Google frames it’s relationship to the data it has on you, ie. 


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Okay, now the plan is to:

  • finish the detox
  • switch to Firefox

Day #1, Data Detox

Searching for my name/image via different search engines, I find images on Google that I mostly recognize or that I posted.


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Via duckduckgo I find others I recognize although a few here I have no idea about.

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Via startpage I mostly am not familiar with these although the documents are associated.

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Reverse image searching, I find this image is no longer attached to anything (I think I used it as an informal image for a conference or something).


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Searching for myself on the Internet Wayback Machine, I end up back in 2003 (and wondering why I thought this was a good picture at the time; creepy!).


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By 2005 at least I’d changed to an avatar.


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