Spotlight on Startups - MyPermissionsAt Sprout Insights, we comb the web to bring you the most up-to-date and actionable resources on how to use social media to grow your business.

To that end, we’re pleased to present the Sprout Insights series Spotlight on Startups. We’ll find the most innovative, useful startup companies out there, get the inside track on what they’re doing, and tell you how you can leverage their products and services for your own business.

This week we’re pleased to cast the spotlight on MyPermissions — an Israeli-based startup that tells you what social apps have access to your private information.

What Is MyPermissions?

What Is MyPermissions?

MyPermissions is a startup company with a mission to help individuals secure their personal information stored in the cloud. At this stage, the company is focused on making it easier for people to access, view, and modify their privacy settings for social apps they’re using on the most popular social media platforms.

If you’ve ever tried to find — let alone change — the privacy settings you’ve granted to apps on your social media sites, the process can be cumbersome, tedious, and downright confusing. “This is by design,” says Olivier Amar, co-founder and CEO of MyPermissions. He says that the more information companies have about you, the more value you and your data are to them.

MyPermissions offers a number of services to alert you when, and how, apps are accessing your personal information. Its smartphone app allows you to monitor your app privacy settings from your iPhone.

It also has a powerful Google Chrome extension that, when installed, pops up a message in your browser to alert you exactly what permissions an app is asking for when you install it. You can also use the extension to run its flagship service, the MyPermissions Cleaner, which can scan and confirm the permissions you’ve granted to apps that run on a variety of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more.

What Needs Does It Address?

According to Mr. Amar, the trend over the last few years has been a move away from personal information being stored (and secured) on local, personal computers. With the explosion in popularity of social media sites, people have willingly traded access to their personal information in return for fun, free, or useful social apps.

The result, says Amar, is that many people no longer know how much personal information they’re actually giving up. Amar gives the example of a simple Tetris game app that runs on Facebook. Its default setting is to grant 24/7 access to your location information. “Why does a building block game need to know where you are?” asks Amar. Based on his time as a developer on the other side of the technical divide, he knows exactly why the application wants this personal information: “To send you targeted ads based on where you live, or where you’re playing the game,” he says.

Although you voluntarily allow applications to access certain personal information when they’re installed, most people are so eager to use the applications that they don’t realize the extent of the personal information they’re giving up in return.

To add to the complication, most social media platforms, like Facebook, bury their app security and privacy settings so deep within their sites that they’re extremely difficult to find. In fact, it’s currently “impossible to access Twitter’s app settings from a mobile device,” according to Amar.

MyPermissions acts as a privacy settings dashboard for your social apps. Its simple, intuitive interface allows you to see all of the granular permissions you’ve granted to your most popular social apps. You can globally revoke access to all your apps; in the next generation of the service, you can enable or disable all permissions right from with the MyPermissions application.

How You Can Leverage MyPermissions

How You Can Leverage MyPermissions

If you’ve ever installed an app or granted permission for an app to access your personal information, then for your own piece of mind, run the MyPermissions cleaner on your various social media platforms. You can then decide if you’re comfortable with the access these apps have to your personal information — and take appropriate action where necessary.

If you’re an app developer, or if your company plans to use consumer based apps in your marketing, MyPermissions has a growing repository of user data (no personally identifiable information) highlighting what consumers feel is inappropriate access to their personal data. This data may be made available to enterprise organizations and partners to help make their applications more security-appropriate and transparent to their users.

If you’d like more information about MyPermissions, either to use its Cleaner application or to discuss partnership opportunities, reach out through its Facebook Page, Twitter account, or its website.

Know of any other startups that would make a good feature on Spotlight on Startups? Contact us, or let us know in the comments below.

[Image credit: MyPermissions]