How to secure your personal PlayBook data

This brief tutorial shows you how to manage permissions on the BlackBerry PlayBook so that you can allow or deny third-party apps access to personal information, GPS information, the camera application, or even your PlayBook's file system. You never know where your info might go if you don't keep it under lock and key.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

The BlackBerry PlayBook recently launched with an estimated 3,000 applications available in the BlackBerry App World store. With third-party apps being so readily available, you'll need to understand how these apps manage and interact with your personal information. You have undoubtedly heard about the issue of iPhone and Android devices tracking users' locations; we want to try and prevent the same thing from happening to you.

This short tutorial will show you how to manage third-party applications and explain what information applications can access on the PlayBook.

When you install a new application that requires access to some of your personal information and run it for the first time, you will be prompted with a screen like the one shown above.

As you can see, the application Poynt is requesting permission to use GPS to find an exact location as well as permission to track usage through Device Identifying Information. Some companies use this information to see app performance in different geographical areas. In other cases, app makers use locations to target advertising. (We don't know Poynt's intention.)

To avoid sharing device information with Poynt or with any app that requests this permission, simply uncheck the box and press OK. After pressing OK, you should be taken directly to the application.

If down the road you want to change a permission setting for an application, simply go into the settings application on the PlayBook. Scroll down and select the security option; you will be presented with a list of applications that have permissions set.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Select the application you want to change the settings for. On this screen you will be given a list of the permissions the application requires, a brief description of what the permissions are exactly, and the current setting for each permission.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

If you had previously denied an application permission and now want to give it, want to deny access that you had previously granted, or want to be prompted for permission each time the application is run, make the proper change in the drop-down and press the back button.

That's it. Pretty easy process, right? Making sure you are aware what information is made available to third-party applications is the first line of defense to safeguard your privacy, and one you are now fully equipped to handle on the PlayBook.

 

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