Consumer Reports has developed a new free app called Permission Slip. They made this tool to help the average person understand where their personal data is collected and sold, and take back some control over that information.
To use this app, you do have to sign up and hand over your personal info. CR promises to not sell it or abuse it. You’ll also have to legally agree Consumer Reports can act as your “authorized agent”. It’s some serious stuff, but they ask for this so that they can advocate on your behalf.
What This App Offers
If you cooperate and agree to the app’s requirements, you can then:
- Review numerous big companies and understand what personal data they are collecting and selling.
- Have Consumer Reports send an official letter (on your behalf) to any of these companies, telling them Do Not Sell My Data.
- Use an easy Delete My Account function, so that the company gets rid of any and all data they have about you.
You could do these sorts of things yourself. You could visit company websites, one at a time, comb through their pages and processes for the correct forms to fill out (most companies make this deliberately difficult). Permission Slip streamlines all of that nonsense for you. Once you’ve got the app up and running, it is quick and easy to browse the companies, telling each one in turn to not sell your data.
Also, amongst the recognizable companies, you’ll notice a few data brokers, like Merkle. When you spot one of them, definitely order them stop selling your data!
Permission Slip is relatively new, so its full benefit has yet to be realized. And when you ask a company to not sell their data, they may or may not comply. But I still think this tool is worth a try, as it is offered by a trustworthy nonprofit company, and using it sends a message to these companies that are profiting off of our personal data.
Also, you might feel a bit of schadenfreude when you realize that these big companies are suddenly having to deal with millions of privacy requests.