More of Note to Self
This week, the results are in. Tens of thousands of people joined the Privacy Paradox challenge. And it changed you. Before the project, we asked if you knew how to get more privacy into your life—43 percent said you did. After the project, that number went up to 80 percent. Almost 90 percent of you also said this project showed you privacy invasions you didn’t know existed. When we asked you what this project made you want to do, only 7 percent of you said “give up.” Sorry guys! Don’t. Fully 70 percent of you said you want to push for protection of our digital rights. We have ideas for that in our tip sheet. A third of you said you’ll delete a social media profile. Another third said this project made you want to meditate. And just one more stat. We tallied your answers to our privacy personality quiz and gave you a personality profile. One-fifth of us were true believers in privacy before the project. Now half us are. Manoush says that includes her. In this episode, we talk through the results, and look to the future of privacy. With Michal Kosinski, creator of Apply Magic Sauce, and Solon Barocas, who studies the ethics of machine learning at Microsoft Research. Plus, reports from our listeners on the good, the bad and the ugly of their digital data.
You've made it. It's final chapter of the 5-day Privacy Paradox challenges. We hear from the one and only Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. And we set some terms for ourselves about how we want to live online, and what we—all of us, together—can do to create the web we really want. And while you're thinking about the future, take our Exit Strategy Quiz to find out how far you’ve come, and get a tip sheet with actions—big and small, individual and collective—to re-invent the internet to work for us. Sir Tim thinks we can do it. And hey, he already did it once, right? And if you haven't already—sign up for the 5-day newsletter here to get details on each day's action step. Don't worry if you're signing up after February 10th, we'll get you the challenges on your schedule. The project lives on!
Many of you told us that the Privacy Paradox challenges freaked you out. But you were happy to take back even just a little control. Want to go further? Here's what you can do to protect your personal information. We also heard from you that this problem is bigger than you realized. Keep reading for our ideas on what we can all do, together, to create the web we want to see in the world. THE BASICS Change your privacy settings on your browser and in social media. Here's how on Chrome, Firefox, Twitter and Facebook. Try the new Firefox iOs app for private mobile browsing. Create strong, unique passwords. Join Signal, an encrypted texting app. More on why here, download here. Turn on two-factor authorization for your key accounts (like email). It’s a simple additional layer of protection against hacking. Fun bonus: Write a letter to a friend on paper. Seal the envelope and mail it. So private. Do movie night and watch The Lives of Others, or Josie and the Pussycats. Double feature! Read (or re-read) 1984 by George Orwell. Everyone's doing it. Watch John Oliver’s 2014 segment explaining net neutrality. After it aired, nearly 4 million public comments were made to the FCC. GET SERIOUS Okay, you have strong passwords. And two-factor on all your accounts. And you’re using Signal. Well, it’s on your phone. Right? Then here are your next steps. Start using a password manager for all your super-strong passwords. Try browsing with Duck Duck Go, a search engine that never stores your search data. Take the Tor browser for a test drive. Learn how to guard against phishing and malware (who knew about the inline images?). Install the https Everywhere plugin for your browser, to minimize what data gets sent without encryption. Fun bonus: Take a break from any voice activated technology you have. Read the ten original amendments in the Bill of Rights. Peruse the report President Obama received from the bi-partisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Manoush likes Principle #7: Because human behavior and technology are intertwined and vital to cybersecurity, technologies and products should make the secure action easy to do and the less secure action more difficult to do. GO HARDCORE You’ve done the basics and then some. You have the stamina and want to take it to the next level. Remove your information from data brokers. It's not easy, but there are paid services and DIY guides. Consider a YubiKey (or two, don’t want to lose it!). Pay with cash for a day. Try out facial recognition camouflage. Start the switch to open source software. Fun bonus: Read up on or follow someone who is working on the decentralized web. Make a faraday pouch for your phone. Stop emailing with a friend and agree to only meet in person. Make Manoush and Martha’s “Digital Thumbprint Cookies.” Well okay, they're just thumbprint cookies. But make them and serve them at a cryptoparty, maybe. Three Things You Can Do to Protect All Our Digital Rights This isn’t all on you. These are society-level problems that require collective response. Here’s some ways to take action. 1. GO STRAIGHT TO THE TOP Let your Congressperson know you care. Find an EFF campaign you like and sign. Not happy with what a tech company is doing with your info? File a privacy complaint to the FTC. Help the technologists and researchers building better tools. 2. CHECK OUT THESE (NON-PARTISAN) GROUPS WORKING ON PRIVACY Electronic Privacy Information Center World Wide Web Foundation Access Now 3. TALK ABOUT PRIVACY OPENLY At workTalk to your IT department what the protocol is if you get hacked or doxxed. Ask team members to check with whom they’ve shared documents outside the company. Have a team meeting out of the office or off-the-record to promote open discussion. At homeShow parents, kids, or grandparents how to put a password lock on their phone and change privacy settings. Consider getting everyone on the texting app Signal. Talk to kids especially about why having a private inner life is vital. With all the other people in your lifeAsk your babysitters, doctors, teachers, accountants and anyone else relevant to be mindful of protecting your personal information. Have them ask you before they post pictures of your kids or tag you in photos. Just telling them you have privacy on the brain could make them more conscientious. 4. BONUS FOR TECHNOLOGISTS Lend your skills to projects like Solid, Simply Secure, Time Well Spent or other good causes. Sign a privacy oath. Or start another for your field. Read your company’s Transparency Report and pass it on. This should go without saying, but just in case: We’re not suggesting that you use any of these tools or tips to hide illegal activity or nefarious deeds. We’re suggesting you use them because the U.S. Constitution affords us a right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects. And digital privacy is the 21st Century version of that.
In this episode, we hear from Elan Gale, executive producer of the Bachelor. Yes, that Bachelor, THE reality show, with a single guy, in a mansion, surrounded by a bevy of young women trying to get him to pick her as “the one.” It sounds so weird when you spell out the premise like that. He has a few things to say about our performance culture and what it means for our privacy. And we hear from Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, a professor of Clinical Psychology at Stanford University, where he runs the OCD clinic. He’s the author of Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the e-Personality. And he’s worried that all our posting and sharing is making it hard for us to protect our true, inner self. Or even find it. And it's not too late - you can sign up for the 5-day newsletter here to get details on each day's action step.
In this episode, we hear from Luciano Floridi, University of Oxford professor of philosophy and ethics of information. In 2014, he was appointed as Google’s in-house philosopher, advising the company on the right to be forgotten. Think you have nothing to hide? As Floridi says, a life without shadows is a flat life. And if you haven't already - sign up for the 5-day newsletter here to get details on each day's action step.
What does your phone know about you? And what can you do about it? Welcome to the first day of our week-long series of podcasts and action-steps designed to help you take back your digital identity. We’re starting with trimming your digital exhaust - your metadata. Many of your apps track your location even when you’re not using them. Others listen in via your microphone when you’re not talking to them. In this episode, renowned security technologist and cryptographer Bruce Schneier takes us on a guided tour of our phones and the metadata they’re giving away. To get details on the day's action step, sign up for the 5-day newsletter here. If you want to check out the secure messaging app Signal that Bruce and Manoush talk about, that's online here.
In this episode, we hear from Joseph Turow, professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s studied the marketing and advertising industries for decades, and recently wrote a new book called The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power. And we hear from our friend Julia Angwin at ProPublica, who’s been doing brilliant reporting on algorithms and how they’re being used online and off. Her series Breaking the Black Box lifted the lid on ad targeting at Facebook. And if you haven't already - sign up for the 5-day newsletter here to get details on each day's action step.
We've heard so many stories from you, listeners. You love the convenience of living online. But you want more control over where your personal information goes and who can see it. Researchers call this the Privacy Paradox. Our 5-day plan, starting February 6th, is here to solve that digital dilemma. This week, we're laying the groundwork. What it'll take to resolve the privacy paradox -- and how it starts with you. In this episode, we'll hear from behavioral economist Alessandro Acquisiti, retired Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff, who coined the term “Surveillance Capitalism," and -- of course -- more of you, dear listeners. Stories of ex-wives hacking social media accounts, stolen social security numbers, and (from a lot of you) that vague creeped out feeling. Then, after you listen, join us and start resolving your paradox. Sign up for the Privacy Paradox newsletter here. From February 6th to 10th, we'll send you a daily newsletter, with an action step and a short podcast on the science, psychology, and technology behind that day’s challenge. You’ll learn where your digital information goes. You’ll weigh the tradeoffs you're making with each new app or service. And you’ll learn how to make digital choices that are in line with your values. We can do this. We can do it together. And it starts today. Learn a little more about our upcoming challenges: day one, two, three, four, and five. PS - If you're already signed up for the Note to Self newsletter, (a) thank you and (b) you also need to sign up for the Privacy Paradox newsletter. They're separate. The Privacy Paradox newsletter is time-limited and just for these challenges.
Hello! If you don't see an answer to your question here, you can get in touch at [email protected] We'll read all your emails and respond as best we can, even if it takes a few days. We'll be updating this page as the questions come in. 1. Questions About the Privacy Paradox 2. Questions About the Team 3. Press Inquiries QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PRIVACY PARADOX 1. What is the Privacy Paradox? It’s a five-day series of challenges, newsletters and mini-podcasts, that will help you take back control over your personal information and digital identity. It’s also the term behavioral economists use to describe the disconnect between our feelings about digital privacy (we value it!) and how we act online (we give privacy away!). 2. Why should I sign up for the Privacy Paradox project? Because you’ll be part of a community that also wants to know where their information goes, what the trade-offs involve, and how they can live a better life, online and off. Plus, privacy is right. Claim it before it drip, drip, drips away. 3. But I don’t have anything to hide! Tell me again why I should do this? Because a life without shadows is a flat life. You don’t have to be subversive to want to live in a world where your every thought and action is not tracked and quantified. Free will, anyone? Also, what about people who DO have something to hide? Be a mensch. If everyone protects their privacy, it won’t be considered “suspicious.” 4. How will the project work? It’s easy. Put in your email address at And yes, we promise to protect it. Then, if you want a thought-provoking giggle, take our Privacy Personality Quiz. Find out if you are The Believer, The Realist, or The Shrugger. Then, every morning, from Feb 6-10, you’ll get a special newsletter that includes mini-podcast with the experts behind that day’s challenge. And tips. Lots of tips. 5. What happens at the end? Good stuff. We don’t want to ruin the surprise but you’ll get easy tip sheets to take with you and share. And we’ll measure how people want to move forward afterwards. We have some ideas. More soon. 5. I missed the launch date! You said it started February 6th - can I still join? You bet. Just sign up for the newsletter, and you’ll get the launch newsletter. Then, for five days after that, you’ll get a challenge newsletter in your inbox. 6. Do you really know what you’re doing? Yes. Amazing people like inventor of the web and 4th Amendment legal experts have helped us create the Privacy Paradox. And we’ve done these big interactive projects before. Check out Bored and Brilliant and Infomagical. This is the new digital literacy, sugar. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TEAM 7. What is Note to Self? A ridiculously fun and smart podcast for anyone trying to preserve their humanity in the digital age, if we do say so ourselves. We call it the tech show about being human. You can find us on Twitter @NoteToSelf and on Facebook at Note to Self Radio. We're produced and distributed by WNYC Studios – home to Radiolab, On the Media, Freakonomics and more. 8. Who is Manoush Zomorodi? Manoush is a hard-core journalist and also kind of a weird public radio mash-up between Morgan Spurlock and Tina Fey. She tweets @manoushz. You can learn more about her here. 9. You didn't answer my question. How do I get in touch? Feel free to send us a message on Facebook, Twitter, or email (notetoself[at]wnyc[dot]org.) QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS 10. I want to write about The Privacy Paradox/Infomagical/Note to Self/Bored and Brilliant/Manoush Zomorodi/WNYC Studios. Who do I talk to? Awesome, we’d love to talk to you. You can contact Senior Director of Publicity Jennifer Houlihan at [email protected]
What does your phone know about you? And what can you do about it? In this episode, coming out on Monday, February 6th, we’ll hear from renowned security technologist and cryptographer Bruce Schneier. He’ll take us on a guided tour of our phones and the metadata they’re sharing. Data journalist Ashkan Soltani drops in to talk about how he handles the apps that track us. And to get details on the day's action step, sign up for the 5-day newsletter here.