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Worst Companies At Protecting User Privacy: Skype, Verizon, Yahoo!, AT&T, Apple, Microsoft
June 5, 2012 | William Zimmerman
We're living our lives more and more in the online environment. Eventually, we end up giving a lot of our personal data, whether we're talking about a social network account, email service or a national carrier. Our conversations are being wire-tapped, our online surfing is being stored. Which are the companies that fight for our rights when the government wants to know more? Who protects our privacy?
This privacy report has been done by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and should be taken seriously. When government agencies come asking for your personal data and your activity logs, who is fighting for your rights and who's acting like a peaceful sheep, pleasing the Big Brother?
The chart from above shows how many stars the participating companies has been given. The rating has been made according to these factors:
Tell users about data demands: a public commitment to inform users when their data is sought by the government. To earn a star in this category, Internet companies must promise to tell users when their data is being sought by the government unless prohibited by law. This gives users a chance to defend themselves against overreaching government demands for their data.
Be transparent about government requests: transparency about when and how often companies hand data to the government. This category has two parts. Companies earn a half-star in this category if they publish statistics on how often they provide user data to governments worldwide. Companies also earn a half-star if they make public any policies they have about sharing data with the government, such as guides for law enforcement. (If a company doesn't have law enforcement guidelines at all, though, we don't hold that against them). Companies that publish both statistics and law enforcement guidelines receive a full star.
Fight for users' privacy rights in the courts: to earn recognition in this category, companies must have a public record of resisting overbroad government demands for access to user content in court. Not all companies will be put in the position of having to defend their users before a judge, but those who do deserve special recognition.
Fight for users' privacy in Congress: Internet companies earn a star in this category if they support efforts to modernize electronic privacy laws to defend users in the digital age by joining the Digital Due Process coalition.
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