Technology Tuesday: Clean Up Your App Permissions

Hope the first full week of 2012 has treated everyone well!

Over the course of 2011, and 2010 before that, you likely encountered many cool apps that needed permission from one of your accounts to fulfill its mission. If you are like many people, including me, the fine print is a nuisance and you click away granting permissions. Many you may still be using, but others’ services may be long since dormant and possibly even changed hands from a company you trust to one that may have ulterior motives. has a simple goal: Help you quickly jump to the permissions pages of some of the top websites to see who has access to your account. See some that you don’t recall, don’t need, or don’t want to have access to your account anymore? You can simply and easily revoke access.

The headline of the page asks, “Try guessing how many apps have permissions to access your private information..” So I did just that with both Google and Twitter.

For Twitter, I guessed I had 60 services linked to my account (most with read, write, and DM access) and for Google, I guessed that I had 25.

I was SHOCKED to count over 300 services for Twitter! What the Hell is Sparsely, uberVU, Tweepi, Fflick, Twazzup, Cortex, UserVoice, or Twittley? Who the heck knows. I can’t even recall half of them and certainly don’t use them. I spent five minutes revoking access and trimmed my list of authorized apps down to a couple of dozen that I still use.

[Sample Page from Google Account Authorizations]

Equally alarming as my Twitter authorizations, were my Google Account permissions. Last year, my account was hijacked and I was locked out of all my Google services for more than two days. No Google Voice (my primary phone), no email, no calendar and nothing else. It was terrifying and disturbing how much I realized I count on Google. Last thing I want is some rogue service potentially compromising my security. As with Twitter, I was completely alarmed at how many services had access to my calendar, Reader account, YouTube account, etc.  Above is one page of many listing the permissions that I had granted. As I did with Twitter, I quickly revoked access to all the services that I don’t want or need anymore.

Facebook, Yahoo, DropBox and a handful of other services are supported. Do yourself a favor, take a few minutes and revoke permissions and start 2012 off with a better piece of mind of your important digital accounts.


Hidden Track Technology Tuesday
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