An illustration of a person holding a smartphone to illustrate CR's 7-day privacy challenge
Illustration: Chris Griggs/Consumer Reports, iStock

There’s an entire industry—even more than one—built on turning your life into marketable data.

The things you buy, the people you connect with over social media, the places you go, your political and religious affiliations, your likes and dislikes. For almost every corner of your life, there’s a company trying to keep tabs on you, and mining that information for insights that can be used to sell you things, target you with political ads, manipulate your behavior, and build new products.

That’s why we put together the 7-Day Privacy Challenge.

Privacy isn't a lost cause. At Consumer Reports, we work every day keeping an eye on the companies that are keeping an eye on you, and we're pushing for change. Ultimately, you shouldn’t have to take a lot of steps to protect your privacy. But for now, there are ways you can take back control.

More On Privacy

The Privacy Challenge is a week-long email series that will give you one simple activity each day. Complete them all, and your digital life will be more private and secure, and you’ll be left with a better understanding of how your information is collected and used.  

I write about technology, privacy, and the internet for Consumer Reports. Working with other journalists, advocates, and tech experts here, I designed the Privacy Challenge to focus on easy, manageable steps that all people can use to improve their privacy.  

We’ll start by mapping out what kinds of data you should focus on, and which products and services put it at risk. I’ll help you go through the settings on your phone, devices, and online accounts that you can use to limit where your data is going. You’ll identify information you’ve left exposed on the internet and take steps to eliminate it. Then we’ll spend some time focusing on security to keep out hackers, and we'll round out the challenge by going over ways you can protect yourself going forward.

You might already be following some of the tips we’ll go over, such as using a password manager or two-factor authentication. Others are probably things you haven’t thought of, or projects you’ve been putting off.  

For those who want a customized strategy that goes further, Consumer Reports’ Security Planner will help you put together a comprehensive action plan based on the products you use and your particular areas of concern. But the Privacy Challenge is a great place to jump off; it breaks down a bigger project into bite-sized chunks that are manageable and even a little fun.  

Ready to get started? Sign up here and you’ll get an email from me every day for the next week with some background and one privacy-focused activity you can take on without breaking a sweat.  

I’ll be taking the challenge, too. Follow me on Twitter and look for the hashtag #MyPrivacyChallenge to see how the Privacy Challenge goes for me. Hit me with your questions and keep the conversation going.

It’s time to take back control of your privacy—you’re just seven days away from a little peace of mind.