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3 Quick Ways to Take Control of Your Data

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

3 Quick Ways to Take Control of Your Data

4.5 Hours Per Day--that is how long Apple’s relatively new screen-time tracking tool says I use my phone every day. That means, very literally, I spend roughly a 40-hour work week on my phone. And, if I am not using it, is in my pocket or on the counter nearby. I thought I was some kind of statistical anomaly because I am always combing through articles, Reddit, or social media on my phone, but it turns out I am turns out I am just in the upper 20% according to rescue time and 1-hour about the average of 3 hours according to RescueTime.

It got me thinking, if I am engaging with all of these sources for that much time per day, what can I do to protect my privacy? What information am I giving out on a daily basis?

So, I logged some more time on my phone to find out. What I was found was a bit disconcerting, but there are a few simple steps you can take to better control your data.

  1. You can tell Alexa to delete your daily conversations (PC Mag)

  • 'Alexa, Delete Everything I Said Today'

  • You can now delete Alexa recordings by voice. Once enabled, just say: "Alexa, delete everything I said today" or "Alexa, delete what I just said."

  • To enable this, open the Alexa app. Tap the hamburger icon () and select Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History. Toggle "Enable deletion by voice" to on. Confirm it in the pop-up menu.

  1. You can change your Facebook ad settings from the default (Facebook)

  • Click in the top right of any Facebook page and click Settings.

  • Click Ads in the left sidebar.

  • From your Ad Preferences page, you can update your interests, choose what Facebook information we use to show you ads and adjust your general ad settings.

3. You can limit Google’s voice recordings as well (The Verge)

  • Go to Google’s My Activity page

  • Click on the three-line “hamburger” icon on the top left of the page to get the pull-out menu

  • Click on “Activity Controls”

  • Scroll down to “Voice & Audio Activity.” You will see a blue toggle which will, in all probability, be set to on. Toggle it off.

  • You will get a pop-up message warning you of the dire consequences of pausing the recordings, such as not being recognized by your faithful Assistant companion. Still want to stop the recording? Toggle it off.

  • If you change your mind, just go back to the same place and toggle it back on.

Our devices are so essential to our daily lives that it is tough to imagine seriously changing your habits overnight, or anytime soon. But by using a few of these strategies, you can feel a little bit better about the amount of time you spend on your devices.

Hope this helps!

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