Digital Safety Week: Helping you navigate online spaces safely

Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) has launched a Digital Safety Week beginning on November 11th, 2019, with the aim of educating people on how to maintain a safe online presence and protecting themselves from hacking, data breaches and other dangerous digital attacks.

Digital attacks have been common in Pakistan, and online spaces are not safe for people, especially marginalised groups such as women. The recent leaking of a Pakistani singer’s private and sensitive data and other events have brought to light the poor state of digital safety in the country.

The Digital Safety Week, from November 11th to November 15th, 2019, aims to alert people to the risks involved in sharing personal data online, and how to make sure they do not fall prey to dangerous online attacks.

Throughout the week, information shared on the official social media accounts of Media Matter for Democracy will focus on ways to delete data properly from personal devices, learning how to control privacy on social media platforms, knowing the consequence of allowing apps to have access to a device’s camera and microphone, and how to report digital attacks to relevant authorities. 

Hija Kamran, who leads MMfD’s program on Internet Governance and Digital Rights, says the need to host a Digital Safety Week came after witnessing a lot of incidents of data breach and infringement of privacy during the past couple of months. She says, “The idea that someone can put you in a real-life danger because of some loopholes in your digital security protocols is chilling. And this is why we decided to run the campaign in order for people to understand complex privacy settings in simple ways so they’re easy to implement”.

“Although the victim is never at fault for any kind of abuse they face, we encourage that digital security protocols be practiced by everyone to avoid challenges,” says Hija.

Day 1: Deletion of data from phone

When data is deleted from a device, some part of it is still left behind, & can be recovered by easily available apps. While this can come in handy in some cases, it can also lead to serious breach of privacy as we saw in recent cases. First, encrypt your device through the option in Settings. This takes about an hour to complete. Once the data is encrypted, factory reset the phone. Secondly, to ensure that factory reset doesn’t leave any mark of personal data, fill the recently wiped phone with junk data. This can be done by various apps available in app store, or by recording hi-res video through the phone.

An infographic on how to properly wipe data from a device.

Sarah is the Communications Officer at Media Matters for Democracy, and manages their outreach and external communications.

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