How many of you made a New Year's resolution to be more organized? Well, shouldn't that organization extend to your online identity, too? If you're trying to clean up your digital footprint, or if you care about who has access to your personal information from your social media accounts, you should definitely check out MyPermissions.org.
MyPermissions is a website that gives you easy access to the app permissions settings hidden deep in the preferences caves of your personal accounts. The simple homepage acts as a dashboard for permission pages on various networks.
From there, choose a network or service and you're taken to the service's app permissions page, where you can see what apps have your permission to access your private information from that service. Once you get over the shock of how many apps you've enabled and forgotten about, you can easily start removing the unwanted ones.
The reasoning behind the service is that most of these websites make it very difficult to find out or change who has access to your data. Social networks like Facebook are notorious for hiding your privacy options, although Facebook recently simplified their privacy controls and is trying to educate users more about what all of the options mean.
MyPermissions includes links to: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Instagram, Foursquare, Windows Live, AOL, Flickr, and Familio. At first launch, there were only about six services linked to, so clearly they're adding new services as demand goes up.
Once you've done the initial mass removal of app permissions, MyPermissions offers several ways to keep up with protecting your personal information. They have a Permissions Cleaner plugin for Google Chrome that sends you alerts when apps access your info, with a quick way to remove all app permissions in one click.
When I found MyPermissons, I found out that I had almost 300 Facebook apps with access to my account. I quickly got that down to 36, and seeing the list of what I'd enabled in the past made me laugh a little. The apps ranged from social media dashboards to pointless quizzes I took way back in high school. The list of apps on Twitter was mostly made up of Twitter clients, dashboards, and apps I'd tried once and forgot about. I haven't moved on to any of the other services, but I'm sure it will be quick and painless!
If you don't currently take many measures to ensure your privacy online, it's time to start thinking about it. Most people don't realize how much personal data of ours is online, especially on social networks like Facebook. One law student asked Facebook for a copy of all of the data they had on him, and they sent him a PDF that was 1,200 pages long with 57 different categories!
How do you protect your privacy online?