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Nov 5, 2011

Twitter app privacy, there just might be hope!

A couple of months ago I blogged about Giving up your privacy for nothing at Yahoo News, ranting about how the Tweet button on a Yahoo News article required you to give complete control of  your Twitter account to some Twitter application. Well, I just had a more encouraging experience!

You've probably heard about this Klout thing. On Twitter there has lately been several reports of people getting Klout perks, so I became a bit curious on how all of this worked. After all, there's not that many web pages where you sign up and then get stuff sent to you by mail because you have many Twitter followers (deliberate over-simplification). I had to register to see what this thing was all about.

Note that there is an ongoing privacy discussion about Klout, here's an excellent article that summarizes some of the issues. I won't go in to that discussion here.

You can sign in to Klout using your Twitter profile. An this is where I was in for a pleasant surprise!

Klout wants access to my account, but only asks to read my Tweets and see who I follow. That translates to read access to information that's already public on Twitter. Note the list of things Klout will not be able to do — it does not require permissions to act on mye behalf. This is the first time I've seen a Twitter app that requests the least amount of privileges it needs to operate. Happy! This is how it should work.

Since I criticized Yahoo News a couple of months ago, I had to check whether things had improved. And it had! Yahoo news now use a Twitter button that sends you to Twitter in order to post a new Twitter message. You no longer need to give a Twitter application access to your account — so your privacy is preserved.

I have to point out that the damage is not automatically undone for those who might have given access to their account before Yahoo News employed the new Twitter button. It's on the users to revoke the application's access to their account. You might want to check out "applications" in your Twitter settings to see who have access to your account. I did just now, and revoked access to one app I had forgotten about...

And yeah, feel free to tweet this to your followers. It should give me Klout, so I can start receiving cool stuff in my mail.


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