Electronic Frontier Foundation Releases 2014 Privacy Ratings For 26 Internet Companies, “Who Has Your Back” Report Now Online
From the EFF:
Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) releases its fourth annual “Who Has Your Back” report, with comprehensive information on 26 companies’ commitments to fighting unfair demands for customer data. The report examines the privacy policies, terms of service, public statements, and courtroom track records of major technology companies, including Internet service providers, email providers, social networking sites, and mobile services.
EFF’s report awards up to six gold stars for best practices in categories like “require a warrant for content” and “publish transparency reports.” Last year, only one company we surveyed earned a full six stars – Sonic, a California ISP. This year, Apple, CREDO Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo all joined Sonic in receiving six full stars, and several others – LinkedIn, SpiderOak, Tumblr, Wickr and WordPress – only missed getting all six stars because they did not have to bring public court battles on behalf of their users.
Additionally, 20 of the companies EFF reviewed published transparency reports detailing government requests for user data, which is a striking increase from last year, when only seven companies in EFF’s report published them. This is now a new standard in the tech industry: corporations are actively and voluntarily working to shed light on the government attempts to access user data.
However, it’s not all good news in this year’s report. Photo-messaging application Snapchat received only one star – particularly troubling due to the sensitive nature of photos and the company’s young user base.
“Snapchat joins AT&T and Comcast in failing to require a warrant for government access to the content of communications. That means the government can obtain extraordinarily sensitive information about your activities and communications without convincing a judge that there is probable cause to collect it,” said EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo. “We urge these companies to change course and give their users this simple and needed protection from government overreach.
As part of this year’s report, EFF collaborated with data analysis company Silk to help explore trends in government access requests. Silk’s analysis provides a simple mechanism for reporters and the general public to explore corporate transparency reports, shedding light on which companies receive the most data requests, which companies push back against government data requests, and which countries are most aggressive in demanding user data.
Direct to Silk’s Analysis
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.