24 – 30 APRIL 2020
A new experiment empowering us to take ownership of our data, starting with a step back from our main door to the digital world.
Sign up below:
You’ll receive a survey asking about your experience at the end of the week, and some useful resources after that
NO PHONE WHAT?
Every day we create a rich trail of data with our phones. This is then harvested, analysed and sold to the highest bidder- be that companies that want you to buy their stuff or politicians that want you to vote for them.
The analysis of this data doesn’t just create general demographics such as ‘young city-dwelling professionals’ or ‘elderly right-wing women’. It is specific down to the level of the individual you or me, where precise behavioural analytics are used to create personalised ‘psychographics’ that dissect the intimate intricacies of our lives.
Most of us aren’t terrorists, most of us are good citizens, and most of us just want to get along and live a happy and peaceful life. So when we talk about data privacy, often people will say ‘Well I’ve got nothing to hide’. But most of us don’t know just how detailed our personal data portrait is, nor do we understand what it can be used for.
Therefore, having a high level of ‘digital literacy’ is more important than ever. Also called ‘digital intelligence quota’ or DQ, this is like our IQ or EQ (emotional intelligence quota), but instead of measuring our ability to decipher the next number in a sequence or how well we empathise with others, it measures our ability to safely navigate and protect ourselves in the digital world, and also to determine how fake our news is.
In an economy where data is worth more than oil, billions are made from refining our follows, likes and shares into an understanding of our moods, fears and desires. There’s more money to be made and power to be grabbed if we stay (let’s face it) addicted to our screens. Many apps are designed to mimic the dopamine pumping slot machines of Las Vegas, with addictiveness built in. We shouldn’t blame ourselves for this abusive situation, but that doesn’t mean we should keep using these products with naive disregard for the consequences.
The good news is, there are things we can do about this. There is a growing number of resources and organisations dedicated to empower us to take ownership of our data, showing us those digital places where our data is taken and used against the interests of ourselves and our democracy.
Knowing where, how and why our data is taken from us is important, but if our daily lives seem to depend on the devices that facilitate this banditry, it’s not an easy cycle to break. While the law scrambles to keep up, there is another way we can begin to build resilience against the wrongdoings of this modern day wild west.
This is where NO PHONE WEEK comes in.
One week, no phone.
NO PHONE WEEK wants us to break the cycle of habit and cut off that neurological reflex that makes us reach for our phone with greater and greater regularity. At least for a little while.
This isn’t about boycotting a bad thing and hoping it goes away. It’s about stepping back for a while, taking a moment to observe what it’s like to be without these tools, so that when we pick them back up, we’re using them and they’re not using us.
NO PHONE WEEK wants to give us the time and space to see what aspects of our phone usage are really useful to us, and which ones we are better off without. From there, we can build a better relationship with our phones that doesn’t involve abuses of data privacy.
When you sign up, at the end of your phoneless week you’ll be sent a small survey asking about your experience. We’ll put together the responses and, with your consent, publish them here. After that, we’ll share some resources with you that can help you protect your data privacy and further this cause worldwide.
The path to digital literacy and data sovereignty begins with a clear-headed understanding of our main door to the digital world. It begins with NO PHONE WEEK.