New app CitizenMe helps you control your online identity

Nate Swanner - Jul 11, 2014
New app CitizenMe helps you control your online identity

Companies like Google and Facebook know quite a bit about you. Their services, which we use for free, have to monetize somehow. Advertisements are typically how those companies make their money, but how much do they know about you? More to the point, can you control it?

An iOS app named CitizenMe will help you understand just what a company might know about you. By scanning your phone for accounts like Google or Twitter (it uses a Facebook log-in, ironically), you get info on what permissions you give the service in question. All the permissions in the privacy policy are laid out in a very simple format, color-coded green, yellow, or red depending on the level of alertness CitizenMe think is required. Red would be something eyebrow-raising, like “we share your pics with other services”.

You can also vote on policy changes made, though it likely doesn’t alter anything. If Google were to suddenly say they were going to make passwords public info, a vote of “that’s nuts, no way” via CitizenMe likely wouldn’t change their mind.

It is, however, a good heads-up feature. CitizenMe also tells you how you interact on certain social networks. It may tell you you’re being a bit liberal on LinkedIn, a place you might not want to be. It’s a great tool if you use social media to drive business your way.

It can also be useful to remind you that maybe — just maybe — Facebook doesn’t need permission to access your photos any longer. From there, you’re left to dive into your app settings to disallow the app from knowing more about you.

CitizenMe takes all the guesswork out of knowing if you’re putting the best foot forward, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to decide if you’re presenting yourself properly. It’s a great first step to knowing whether or not you’re online identity is what you want it to be, but can’t do the legwork for you.

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