MyPermissions.org does something very simple and very helpful – and it might be an eye-opener for some of you.
The site has gathered shortcuts to the pages that list the permissions you’ve granted to access your information on eight social networking services: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Instagram, and Flickr. The app permission management pages make it possible for you to guard your privacy and control how your information is used.
Let’s use Facebook as an example. If you have a Facebook account, you are asked constantly if you want to link this or that to your Facebook account. Maybe it’s comments on an online forum, or an add-in for a program (like Outlook’s social connector), or apps on your phone. It’s easy to say yes. Frequently it’s rewarding. A stream of information goes back and forth between Facebook and the app so your friends can see what you’re listening to on Spotify or the like.
After a while it gets creepy. When you look at the list of places that have access to your Facebook account, you might be shocked to see how many names are listed. There will likely be some that you have no recollection of ever seeing before.
MyPermissions actually does nothing itself. It’s just shortcuts. Each of the services has its own list of apps that have permission to interact with your account, with a delete button or an X to remove the permissions that are no longer necessary or that seem ill-considered in hindsight. Those pages can be hard to find, especially because the chances are you didn’t know they existed until now.
Visit MyPermissions.org and click on the icons for the services where you have accounts. (You don’t need to click on the services that you’re not using, of course.) Take control of the information that is being shared under the digital hood. Make a note on your calendar to go back every once in a while. And be careful out there!
[Thanks to Stan Beck for telling me about MyPermissions!]