Permission Slip: The New App Streamlining Data Privacy Requests

Permission Slip: The New App Streamlining Data Privacy Requests

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These days, trying to manage how your personal information is shared across the internet can feel overwhelming and, at times, impossible. Thankfully, Consumer Reports’ free new app, Permission Slip, offers you a streamlined way to request that companies delete your account or stop selling your information. The app’s Tinder-esque user interface makes sending requests to companies quick and easy. In the short time since the app launched, Consumer Reports claims to have saved users over two million hours in doing all of the tricky work for you.

Three screenshots of the Permission Slip app. On the left you see  you see that you can use the app to submit a data request for you and of three of the types of data T-Mobile collects: Identifiers, demogahics, and social life. In the middle you see te options: Do Not Sell My Data and Delete My Account. On the right you see a notice that the app successfully sent a request and a not that companies usually respond within 15 days.

Our ability to more easily manage our personal information online can be traced back to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). CCPA stipulates that internet users have the right to privacy regarding how companies use their personal data. Since the law went into effect in 2020, numerous other states have enacted similar laws. To comply with these new laws, many online companies now have a form you can fill out to manage how your personal data is used.

Not long after the CCPA went into effect, I manually deleted all the unused accounts I could remember – an arduous task. Signing into each account alone could take a while, as I often forgot my login info and had to go through a somewhat convoluted password recovery process just to sign in. And that was before I even got to the lengthy and often confusing form to request that my account or data be deleted.

Find out how to prevent AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon from sharing your data.

Permission Slip does all the heavy lifting of telling companies not to sell your data or delete your account. You authorize the app to act as your agent, and it eliminates the process of signing in and filling out a new form for each respective account.

Setting up your account is easy. You only need an email and password to sign up for an account with Permission Slip. Next, you’ll see a “deck of cards” similar to what you might find on a dating app, except instead of a dating profile, each card has a company logo and a brief blurb about the company. From there, you can tap on “Learn More & Take Action,” which will take you to a new page showing all of the different ways that the particular company collects and shares your data and an option at the bottom of the page to send a request – either “Do Not Sell My Data” or “Delete My Account.”

It’s not just accounts you create; find out how your web browser leaks your personal information.

You’ll need to authorize the app to act as your agent for your first request. You’ll need to sign a contract authorizing the app to act on your behalf and provide the email address or email addresses (you can provide multiple) that you may have used to create your accounts. You may also need to provide your phone number, legal name, and address.

Screenshot of agent agreement. The text reads: I [name], hereby designate Consumer Reports, Inc. (Consumer Reports) as my authorized agent under the California Consumer Privacy Act and its regulations (the CCPA) and all other applicable privacy and data security laws, rules and regulations, and any subsequent legislation applicable to the exercise of my individual privacy rights in California and any other applicable jurisdictions (My Privacy Rights). My agent, Consumer Reports, is authorized to exercise My Privacy Rights on my behalf, including without limitation, to perform the following acts for me and is vested with the specific authorities listed below: I authorize Consumer Reports to exercise my right to opt-out of the sale of my personal information, the right to know or access my personal information, the right to delete my personal information, the right to correct or rectify my personal information, the right to non-discrimination with respect to my exercise of my privacy rights (including the right to opt in and opt out of financial incentive programs), the right to limit use and disclosure of my sensitive personal information, and related rights and actions. Further, I hereby consent to the processing of my personal information by Consumer Reports for the purpose of exercising my Privacy Rights, and agree to the use of my information by Consumer Reports for research and related reporting purposes. I understand that I may withdraw my permission at any time.

Note that the app currently has hundreds of companies that you can make requests to, from Facebook to Instacart to T-Mobile, including data aggregators like Spokeo, and you will see all of them regardless of whether you have an account. When I logged into the app for the first time, I found this confusing, as I was sure that I hadn’t ever signed up for an account with the first few companies that appeared.

Permission Slip is available for iOS and Android. Interest has been soaring recently, so if you are having trouble logging in or creating an account, give it some time.

[Image credit: screenshots via Techlicious, app screenshot in photo via Canva]

Ian Eylanbekov is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature and a B.F.A. in Jazz Studies. During his time there, he contributed to the production of numerous audio journalism pieces for the Michigan Daily, and wrote articles and essays on a wide variety of topics ranging from early electronic music to the poetry of Terrance Hayes.

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