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Free Expression, Privacy & Data

CDT’s 2018 Tech Resolutions

At CDT, we love technology, especially when it makes ours lives easier. While many here are among the first adopters of new technology, we also have our share of skeptics who bring a healthy dose of paranoia. This balance of perspectives makes our advocacy more thoughtful. And it means that when I asked the team what their tech resolutions for 2018 were, I received a wide range of answers. I received such great responses that I wanted to share them more broadly – I hope you enjoy them, and I would love to hear yours as well. Happy New Year everyone!

Be more intentional about the use of technology to connect with more people.
The friends I’m connected to on social media I love, even if I may not talk to them often. Instead of reaching out to the same 25 people over and over, I’m going to make a point to connect with others that I communicate with less often, and schedule time with them in person.
(Lee-Berkeley Shaw, Director of Development)

Disengage from your smartphone at a certain time each day.
At my house, we have a new rule to plug in your phone on our kitchen island by 9:30PM. We use old-school alarm clocks to wake us up in the morning. This is one way we can build simple boundaries that can turn into long-term habits: unplugging, being present, and fully relaxing.
(Nuala O’Connor, President and CEO)

Regularly disinfect your phone and tech devices.
While I wash my hands as I go throughout my day, I realized that I wasn’t cleaning my phone or, really, any of my tech. I’m making a point, especially in cold and flu season, to clean my devices more often, and to start thinking of them as what they are: extensions of my physical body in need of similar types of care.
(Taylor Portela, Special Assistant to President and CEO and Development Liaison)

Read more news from new sources.
To help break outside my filter bubble, I’m looking for new news sources – the places and people I wouldn’t typically read. This includes different viewpoints and ideological backgrounds that may be in conflict with my own.(Chris Calabrese, Vice President of Policy)

Delete unused apps from your phone.
Shout out to the New York Times for this data hygiene suggestion! I went through and deleted all of my unused apps on my phone. Now it’s less cluttered, and I only have apps I actually use.
(Brian Wesolowski, Director of Communications and Chief of Staff)

Be more tech savvy by trying out new apps that you’ve resisted.
As a privacy advocate, I often find myself skeptical of many new apps and digital services. This year, I’m actually trying more apps, like Instagram and Snapchat, so that I not only understand them better, but learn firsthand what it’s like to use them.
(Joseph Jerome, Policy Counsel for the Privacy and Data Project)

Help prepare students for the future.
By the time my second-grader enters the workforce, the technological revolution will have fully reshaped the job market. It will be important for the people living in that world to have a basic understanding of how the systems work, and for women to be part of building the technology.  My daughter and her best friend have enrolled in a computer programming course and are learning how to control robots by writing simple code on a tablet.
(Lisa Hayes, Vice President of Strategy and General Counsel)

Limit and measure screen time on devices.
You can do this by simply being conscious of how much time you spend in front of screens or by using apps that help you actually measure your screen time. For example, the app Moment measures screen time across devices and is the most privacy protective I’ve found so far (e.g., they don’t store data off of your device and don’t use it for marketing purposes).
(Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Chief Technologist and Director of the Internet Architecture Project)

Don’t forget the value of older technology.
I’m going to do more to keep up with family and friends on social media, and use older tech to do the same. I plan to pick up the phone each week and call a friend or family member to whom I haven’t spoken in a long time. Heck, I might even write a real letter on a piece of paper with a real pen!
(Greg Nojeim, Director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project)