Verizon, Apple, At&T and Yahoo have come under fire from privacy advocates EFF for failing to protect users from government data requests.
EFF evaluated 18 of the major Internet companies in their annual ‘Who has your back?’ report to find out which sites are the safest.
Each company was judged on whether or not they:
- Require a warrant before handing over user content
- Tell users about government data requests
- Publish transparency reports
- Publish law enforcement guidelines
- Fight for users’ privacy in courts
- Fight for users’ privacy rights in Congress
Twitter and Sonic.net were the only websites to receive a positive score for all six categories.
Verizon received a score of zero, while Apple, At&T and Yahoo all received a score of just one each.
Concluding the report, the EFF said:
“We remain disappointed by the overall poor showing of ISPs like AT&T and Verizon in our best practice categories.
“There are many ways to safeguard the privacy of individuals from government overreach. EFF has long engaged in impact litigation, educational initiatives, innovative technology projects, and policy advocacy both domestically and internationally to ensure that governments are held to high standards when it comes to accessing sensitive information about us. The foundation of these standards – which ensure our communications and private affairs are not subject to arbitrary government access – are the Fourth Amendment, decades of privacy law, and many years of case law. But in today’s increasingly digital world, online service providers serve as the guardians of our most intimate data – from email content to location information to our social and family connections. The policies adopted by these corporations will have deep and lasting ramifications on whether individual Internet users can communicate free from the shadow of government surveillance.
“Readers of this year’s annual privacy and transparency report should be heartened, as we are, by the improvements major online service providers made over the last year. While there remains room for improvement in areas such as policies of location service providers and cellphone providers like AT&T and Verizon, certain practices – like publishing law enforcement guidelines and regular transparency reports – are becoming standard industry practice for Internet companies.”