A new site, MyPermissions.org, makes it easy to herd a posse of wild cats – aka the hoard of applications and sites to which we’ve granted permission to access our information on Twitter, Facebook and more.
MyPermissions doesn’t ask for your personal information or login details, thank goodness. Otherwise, it would be a phishing goldmine.
Rather, the site simply offers a handy set of links to permissions lists. It also allows you to easily revoke access from the permissions pages.
On top of that, MyPermissions offers a reminder service: a monthly email via ifttt that prompts you to check your permissions.
Of course, you can set up a reminder on your own calendar and bookmark permissions pages on your own, but MyPermissions is a handy place to do it all from one spot.
Clicking through to different sites’ lists of permissions is an eye-opener. Do you know, offhand, how many applications can access your Facebook information, for example?
I was a trifle surprised to find that I’ve granted permission to 15 Facebook applications. I thought it sounded high until I read a comment from PStamatiou on a Hacker News thread about MyPermissions:
Nice! Just revoked access to about 40 things on Twitter, 30 on Flickr, 15 on Google, a handful on LinkedIn, 11 on dropbox, and about 150 (yikes!) on Facebook.
150 applications can access Pstamatiou’s personal information on Facebook??? Yikes indeed!
Of course, there are many legitimate apps and websites which you can give permission to connect with your account – but that doesn’t mean you have to have a free-for-all.
Remember, any application that gets permission to access your profile information potentially puts that information at risk. And, in the case of Facebook, it could put your friends’ information at risk, as well.
Any permissions can be dangerous, but Facebook is particularly worrisome, given the high number of users who are happy to give their personal information to strangers.
As Sophos found when it contacted 200 Facebook users posing as a plastic frog back in 2007, 87 responded, with 82 – or 41% – leaking personal information when they did so.
That personal information can be used for identity theft. It can be used for a mind-boggling array of other nastiness, as well. Bill Pringle has a nice compilation page of Facebook security issues, but lest we forget, the other social media sites can be used in similar mischievous ways.
As Tim O’Reilly Tweeted about the site (the site proudly displays said Tweet on its home page), MyPermissions is an excellent idea. “Treat your permissions with respect,” Mr. O’Reilly advises.
I wholeheartedly agree. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to choke a few Facebook applications in their cradles before they turn out to be monsters.
And please, feel free to let us know what surprises you in your permissions page.