May 16, 2014
Snapchat, Adobe, AT&T and Comcast Still Fall Far Short of Expectations
Technology’s top companies really do have your back, according to a digital rights advocacy group’s annual transparency report.
The ‘Who Has Your Back’ report revealed that some of the sectors biggest names — Apple, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, Sonic, and Credo Mobile — received perfect scores when it comes to their privacy and transparency policies.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said tech companies in general have improved their policies with 20 of the companies reviewed publishing transparency reports detailing government requests for user data — a significant increase from last year, when only seven companies did so.
“The sunlight brought about by a year’s worth of Snowden leaks appears to have prompted dozens of companies to improve their policies when it comes to giving user data to the government,” said activism director Rainey Reitman in a press release. “Our report charts objectively verifiable categories of how tech companies react when the government seeks user data, so users can make informed decisions about which companies they should trust with their information.”
EFF’s report awards up to six gold stars for best practices in the following categories: requires a warrant for content, tells users about government data requests, publishes transparency reports, publishes law enforcement guidelines, fights for users’ privacy rights in courts and fights for users’ rights in Congress.
LinkedIn, Pinterest, SpiderOak, Tumblr, Wickr and WordPress had to settle for five out of six stars for not having any public court battles to fight on behalf of their users.
While many of the companies are fighting for the privacy of their users, some are still failing to put the consumer first.
Photo-messaging app Snapchat, for instance, was the only company on the list to receive just one star out of six for publishing law enforcement guidelines.
“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.”
Receiving only two stars were Amazon and AT&T while Adobe, Comcast, Foursquare and MySpace were three-star companies. Verizon and Wikimedia each received four stars as did Lookout.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.