Stop what you’re doing.  You probably don’t realize it, but you need a permission slip.

Not just any permission slip, Consumer Reports’ new Permission Slip app for iOS and Android. It’s a free app designed to help users regain control of their personal information.  Permission Slip allows users to contact companies and request that they delete their accounts and stop selling their information.

To quote the Consumer Reports’ website:

“The app currently includes a broad range of industries and companies – from McDonald’s to Applebee’s, AMC Theatres to Ticketmaster, Amazon to Netflix, The Home Depot to Lowe’s, OpenTable to Instacart, and many others. More companies will continue to be added . . ..”

When using the app, Consumer Reports acts as an intermediary to file requests on your behalf.  It also ensures that the requests are acted upon.  App users no longer have to contact companies individually and hope for a response, one that often never comes.  With Consumer Reports acting on your behalf companies are more likely to respond.

There are other “opt out” services online.  Many, however, focus on personal information that has already been hacked.  Such dark web monitoring services are offered by LifeLock, Experian and others.  While useful in their own right, these services do not target data that have been gathered but not yet leaked.  Permission Slip does.  It contacts large organizations that routinely gather data about site visitors and account holders.

I particularly like the feature that allows users to ask companies to delete accounts.  When my identity was stolen, I found it nearly impossible to delete some of my compromised accounts.  Whether Permission Slip will be more successful deleting these zombie accounts, I don’t know . . . yet.  I aim to find out.

In the meantime, I recommend that you download this app.  It’s a great first step toward taking control of your online privacy.

Peter Dragone - Co-founder of Keurig.