Reviewing the account permissions of nosy apps

Windows 8.1 App request for permission

It seems like the preponderance of web apps has inaugurated a new era of officious software.

I mean, it feels like almost every app under the sun wants access to:

  • My email address
  • My account information
  • My data on all websites
  • My tabs
  • My private browsing history
  • Text I copy and paste
  • My physical location
  • My bookmarks
  • My currently installed apps
  • My mothers maiden name
  • My freggin’ sexual orientation

Okay, I’m being facetious (and crass) with the last two but seriously why the heck are these apps so damn nosy?

The problem is that people have become so conversant with seeing these permission requests that we often ignore what the app is actually requesting and blithely click Accept.

Yes, I know that’s a sophomoric move but I almost made that blunder the other day so – no one is exempt.

Thankfully, Google has judiciously published articles to help you understand data access and has published a list of permissions requested by apps and extensions.  You’ll discover that all alerts are grouped by severity and have detailed explanations under each heading.

I exhort you to review this list so you can know what each app is actually requesting when it asks you to “hand over the data”.

And speaking of knowing each app: is there a way to discover which apps you’ve already granted permission?

Thank God yes.

Which apps are using my stuff?

Kick open Google Chrome and enter this in the address bar (or omnibar as Chrome calls it):

Scroll through the list and gasp.

Google Account Permissions

If you’re like me, you’ve probably amassed a voluminous list of nosy apps which have access to all kinds of data. Browse through each one and you’ll probably find a handful of apps that you no longer use or don’t care about anymore.

Click on any unwanted apps then choose the Revoke Access button in the right pane.

The main thing you want to pay attention to is the extent of access.

Most of the apps in the list are probably benign; however, if you notice any apps that have the phrase “all data” in the permission list; you should consider revoking access.

In my mind there’s no good reason why an app needs to access all data on my account.  I can reluctantly live with an app requesting access to my browsing history, but I’m loathe to grant access to all data because… I mean – c’mon doesn’t all data include my password data? I’m not willing to give that up; hell, no.


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Posted in Google Chrome, Web Browsers Tagged with: ,