Which Companies Best Protect Your Data from the Government's Prying Eyes?

Josh WolfordFeatured, Technology

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According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual report on companies' commitment to protecting user data, Adobe, Apple, Wikimedia, WordPress, and Yahoo have your back more than everyone else.

The EFF's Who Has Your Back? report looks at 24 major tech companies and awards stars based on five criteria – whether or not they 1) follow industry-accepted best practices (requiring warrants, publishing transparency reports, etc.); 2) tell users about government data requests; 3) publicly disclose the company’s data retention policies; 4) disclose the number of times governments seek the removal of user content or accounts and how often the company complies; and 5) oppose backdoors.

The EFF says that overall, it has seen improvement just in the past few months. But the organization calls out some companies for failing to take steps it recommended to protect user privacy – including WhatsApp, Google, and Twitter.

In the months that EFF has been talking to companies to develop “Who Has Your Back,” there has already been significant improvement in privacy practices. For example, just days ago Amazon released its first-ever transparency report.

 

But it’s not all good news. For more than a year, EFF has urged Google and Twitter to commit to telling users about government data requests, even when that notice must be delayed due to an ongoing emergency or a gag order, but both companies have yet to improve their policies and earn a star. WhatsApp received only one star despite notice last year from EFF that it was going to be included in “Who Has Your Back” and an acquisition by Facebook that gave it plenty of resources to protect its customers.

Here's the final chart for 2015:

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 9.28.54 AM

"We are pleased to see major tech companies competing on privacy and user rights. Practices that encourage transparency with users about government data requests are becoming the default for companies across the web. While we’re only able to judge a small selection of the tech industry, we believe this is emblematic of a broader shift. Perhaps invigorated by the ongoing debates around government surveillance and in response to growing public attention around these issues, more and more companies are voluntarily speaking out about government data requests and giving users tools to fight back," says the EFF.

You can check out the entire report here.

Image via Apple

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf