Online Privacy: Track Which Apps Access Your Personal Information

Thanks to heartbleed, there's a renewed interest in sorting out which apps and services can access our personal information. Considering how many apps we use every day, that can be a pretty daunting task. With a little help from MyPermissions, however, that's far more manageable, and it can help you control exactly what information online services can gather, too.

MyPermissions show you which apps use online services, and what they can do with your dataMyPermissions show you which apps use online services, and what they can do with your data

MyPermissions runs in your Web browser and as an iPhone app. It checks to see which apps and services have access to your personal information, and just what they can do with that data.

The permissions various apps get can be quite surprising. In my case, eight apps on my Mac tie into Google, have basic permissions to act on my behalf, view my contacts, read my calendar, and in the case of the Google Search App, have full access to my Google account.

That last one sounds pretty bad, and the others sound fairly nefarious, too. Most, at least in my situation, are OK because they're apps -- like BusyCal -- that need access to my Google calendars to keep my appointments in sync. Still, it's good to know just how much access apps have to my online accounts and personal data.

MyPermissions is free to use, as is their iPhone app. Giving up your privacy online, however, could end up being very expensive, so go ahead and take an active role in policing exactly what the apps you use can really do with your personal information.