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Consumer Reports Has an App To Help with Privacy

My wife was kind enough to send me the Washington Post write-up of Permission Slip, which Geoffrey Fowler is very high on, but also noted that there may be some technical issues right now due to high demand. (I am waiting a few days to try it and see if that demand surge levels off.)

That post may get paywalled soon so let me pull out the critical bit:

A new iPhone and Android app called Permission Slip makes it super simple to order companies to delete your personal information and secrets. Trying it saved me about 76 hours of work telling Ticketmaster, United, AT&T, CVS and 35 other companies to knock it off.

As many of us know, new privacy laws in some US states have required companies that store personal data to allow people to demand it be deleted. The law, however, didn’t say that companies had to make it very easy to make that request. In many cases, there’s a lot of paperwork. This app seems to be trying to cut through the bureaucracy. The author claims it saved him 76 hours of work, though I’m not sure exactly how he counted that. What we do know is trying to get all the companies who have our data to delete it is time-consuming enough that most of us don’t bother.

What would happen to the personalized advertising space if it was easy enough for most of us to opt out of data collection? As easy as Consumer Reports claims this tool is, we might find out.

Unless, of course, you’re a big fan of personalized ads. I guess if you are, this isn’t for you.

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