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.
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.
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.
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]