The latest report from the Efficient Frontier Foundation (EFF), Who Has Your Back?, details just how far companies will go when it comes to protecting consumer data from the U.S. government and other entities. Apple shows amazing strides, while Snapchat flounders.
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo sit at the top of the list with six stars each, along with Credo Mobile, Dropbox, and Sonic.net. Snapchat sits at the bottom with one star. Even Amazon.com, AT&T and Comcast score better, with two stars. Foursquare and MySpace came in with three stars.
The EFF's fourth annual report examines publicly available policies of major Internet companies and gives stars based on the lengths that companies will go to protect consumer data. Some require a warrant for content, tell users about government data requests, publish transparency reports, publish law enforcement guidelines, fight for users' privacy rights in courts, or fight for users' privacy rights in Congress.
The report points to Apple because of its rating in prior years. The company had lagged behind industry competitors, earning just one star in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Apple shows amazing improvements in its commitment to transparency and privacy from prior years.
On the flip side, privacy advocates don't believe consumers should trust Snapchat. Its one-star rating demonstrates a lack of keeping pace with industry competitors when it comes to data requests and transparency, which means giving users notice when their data is sought by the government, or requiring a warrant for user content.
The EFF granted Snapchat one star for posting its publicly available policies and nothing else, but spokesperson Mary Ritti told The Washington Post that Snapchat routinely requires a search warrant when law enforcement requests user data.