Digital Sovereignty

digital sovereignty
Modern tech is a blessing and a curse.

With the blessing of optionality, it also comes with the curse of our data being harvested. Facebook is worth $400b for a reason – your data.

The pay-off for this globally connected web is our attention and agency.

It is known that social media companies in particular, profit from the addiction of its users. The outrage, confusion and continual dopamine hits these companies rely upon are obviously higher on the company’s values, than the well-being of people using the applications.

“The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Why do we do this? Are we making 150 conscious choices?”
― 
Tristan Harris

 


Your Information is their Goldmine

Big tech is vying for every bit of data they can get on you. It is worth a fortune to them. Predominantly, they sell data to advertisers to fill the demand of our consumerist lifestyles.

The more information they can get on you, the easier it is to market goods and services. Notice how you question whether the phone reads your mind – ‘I was only thinking about this 2 hours ago’.

The reality is somewhat different. The data that’s been harvested, including your search history, has been mined. This data is utilised in numerous ways, but mainly to use for marketers and advertiser.

We need to keep buying ‘stuff’ don’t we?

Don’t blame these people companies, it is our ignorance that demands this. The organisations are fulfilling the demand. Taking back your digital sovereignty is the solution, not their demise.

 


Reliance on Technology

We are increasingly reliant on technology, particularly since the COVID19 ‘lockdowns’. This brings its own challenges and dangers.

Again, technology is not the enemy here. It’s a neutral tool which can be harnessed to any end. It is down to the individual to recognise the importance of their sovereignty and agency.

Consider this – how would you handle a 48 hour digital detox? No phone, no internet, no social media?

It isn’t easy to have a healthy relationship with technology. The speed of tech development far outweighs our level of emotional and spiritual evolution.

Most people act mindlessly with tech (as with many other things in life). Are you digitally sovereign at this point? Or are you a digital zombie?

Be completely honest.

 


The Tech Trade Off

As with any trade, there is a give and a take. In the age of ‘orange’ capitalism (Spiral Dynamics), the trade is often heavily one sided. Playing on people’s biases, big tech is a master at hiding the other side of the coin.

Considering social media, how often do you click on the little blue Facebook symbol and mindlessly scroll for 10 minutes?

Dopamine on demand.

The other side of the tech trade-off is human connection. Imagine walking the streets of Venice with your loved ones without the use of google maps (or alternative). It may take you more time to find your destination, but you’d connect somewhat. If you’re anything like me, you’d end up arguing about directions for half an hour.

Google maps be efficient but is it worth it? Yes and no. There is no right answer. It’s a choice and you have to weigh up the trade-off.

 


Intention – What are you using it for?

How many times have you picked up your phone today without any specific aim?

What value did you receive?

With such a low barrier to entry, it’s difficult to have a healthy relationship with modern tech. The first step to overcoming this addiction is admitting we have lost ourselves in it.

One thing that has helped me is to set a firm intention every time I pick up my phone. Once that intention has been met, the phone gets put down.

For example, ‘I’m picking up my phone to call the solicitor about a deal’. Once that is complete the phone is put back down, which stops the potential 15 minutes mindless scrolling on Instagram.

Below are a few applications to assist in taking back your digital sovereignty.

 


Alternative Internet Browser (Brave)

I moved over to Brave after a recommendation by a friend. Brave blocks ads and website trackers whilst also allowing you to earn and pay content creators.

They pay you to use the browser in BAT (Basic Attention Token) which is the browsers own crypto. I’ve been paid around £200 for using Brave over the last 8 months, without donations from other users. Since the start of COVID, there has been huge adoption in the browser.

It comes highly recommended.

 


‘Anti-Censorship’ platforms

Bitchute

Video Streaming Platform

LBRY / ODYSEE

Video Streaming Platform

Telegram

Heavily encrypted messenger service.

Signal

Heavily encrypted messenger service.

 


 

Greyscale

As mentioned earlier, a lot of modern tech is purposely created to become addictive. One of these addictive techniques is the use of bright colours. We can turn the bright colours on our mobile phones to greyscale very easily, and from experience, it tones down our ‘excitement’ while on the device.

I have an iPhone. The video (link below) shows you how to greyscale your iPhone. If you have an Android you should be able to find a video easy enough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-wxykA2SA

 

Freedom app

The Freedom App simply blocks all sites and apps that causes distractions, and it’s really cheap for a superb service. Be careful though! There is a ‘Locked Mode’ which doesn’t allow you to get onto these apps no matter what!

https://freedom.to/

(Freedom YouTube Vid)

 

Flux App (Mac and Windows)

This app alters the colour temperature on your mac/windows device. If you study circadian rhythms, you’ll know the importance of blue light and its effects on sleep. This app just works in the background once you’ve set it up.

https://justgetflux.com/

Tips

Notifications

Turn off all applications on your phone. You’ll be astounded at how few apps you’re interested in once they stop popping into your awareness every 10 minutes.

 

Remove Social Media

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the three main productivity killers – I know from experience.

Get them off your phone and you’ll notice a surge in productivity. I suggest holding yourself to account for 2 days to begin with.

 

Send Audio Notes Instead of Texting

Quicker, easier and less opportunity for misinterpretation.

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