Which online companies can you trust to keep your online data private? That question is central to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual “Who Has Your Back” report, and the nonprofit digital rights group just published this year’s version. The EFF ranks some of the world’s leading tech companies on a set of criteria revolving around their consumer privacy practices. Essentially, the EEF’s annual report helps you decide which companies you should — and shouldn’t — trust to keep your data from prying eyes. Each company can earn a “star” in these five categories.
Follows Industry-Wide Best Practices: This basically grades companies on three criteria: regular transparency reports, requiring a warrant before disclosing sensitive user information and having public law enforcement guides. Tells Users About Government Data Requests: This criteria concerns whether companies let users know if the government is seeking their data in advance. Promises Not to Sell out Users: This ensures that data is not “flowing to the government outside of its law enforcement guidelines.” Stands up to National Security Letter Gag Orders: A company must publicly commit to challenging gag orders before complying. Pro-user Public Policy Reform 702: Grades companies based on their stance concerning NSA surveillance reform.
Most Trusted Companies of 2017
This year, the companies with the best consumer privacy policies include the following, all of which earned a star in every category.
Other popular services, like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Facebook, also earned top-marks but faltered on certain criteria. Apple also earned a star in every category other than its position on NSA surveillance.Popular services like WhatsApp and Amazon earned two, while AirBnB and Snapchat earned three stars.
Least Trusted Companies of 2017
Some of the worst companies, unsurprisingly, included Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and T-Mobile, each only earning one star. Concern for protecting online privacy is rapidly growing in 2017; if you’d like to learn more about safeguarding your online privacy follow this link.