January 28 is Data Privacy Day. It’s a topic that has become increasingly more important in recent years as more of our information moves to the Internet. Consumers are largely untrusting when it comes to Internet companies, but one has at least earned more trust than others.
A study from the Ponemon Institute found that Mozilla was the most trusted Internet company for privacy in 2012. The non-profit ranked number one in the Internet & Social Media category and number 20 overall. The study doesn’t detail the competition, but we can assume that Mozilla beat out the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter.
In accepting the award, Mozilla says that it doesn’t strive to win awards when it comes to its users’ privacy:
This is certainly quite a distinction and the product of a user-centric philosophy implemented by contributors to the Mozilla project over the past decade. Engineers, UX designers, security, engagement, IT and privacy folks have made thousands of small decisions over the years that have collectively created the user trust reflected by this survey. This recognition is not something we sought, as we don’t view privacy as an end unto itself, but it’s greatly appreciated given all the complexities and nuances associated with privacy and security today.
That being said, Mozilla finds that the rankings only detail the inherent distrust consumers have for online services. It hopes that itself and others can fix that perception going forward:
The rankings have another implication. It means we as an industry all have a lot more work to do. It’s unfortunate that users largely distrust the ecosystem of online service and application providers. What we really want is an environment where those of us developing Internet and social media services and applications deepen trust in a way that empowers and protects users and engenders confidence. We all have to continue our efforts — both big and small — to create a more trustworthy environment of online products that seamlessly integrate ease of use, transparency, and user choice.
Speaking of other companies, Google and Facebook both detailed new privacy initiatives today to coincide with Data Privacy Day. Google says that it requires search warrants whenever law enforcement requests a user’s information. It also notifies users when their information is being requested. As for Facebook, the company’s Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, will be accepting questions from users to keep the privacy dialog transparent and accessible to all.