Menu
Amazon, AT&T, Snapchat rated among the least trustworthy with data, EFF finds

Amazon, AT&T, Snapchat rated among the least trustworthy with data, EFF finds

The companies ranked poorly in a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Amazon, Snapchat and AT&T rank among the least trustworthy technology companies when it comes to how they handle government data requests, according to a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The nonprofit privacy advocacy group released its fourth annual "Who Has Your Back" report Thursday, ranking trustiworthiness of tech firms based on a variety of criteria, including whether they require a warrant for user data and their publication of transparency reports.

Of the more than two dozen companies ranked, Apple, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic.net, Twitter and Yahoo took top honors, earning the maximum six stars in each category studied.

AT&T and Amazon earned only two stars, while Snapchat was awarded just one.

A wealth of personal information and data is stored with Internet companies, and concerns over the handling of data have skyrocketed in the wake of disclosures about government spying, as well as cyberattacks and companies' own policies and products.

The report's findings are based on the actions companies take on matters relating to government user-data demands, as well as their stance on transparency. The report was based on publicly available data and records, and did not look at any secretive anti-surveillance measures the companies may have in place. Responses to national security requests cloaked by a gag order weren't factored in either.

Companies were assessed based on six criteria: requiring a warrant for data; telling users about government data requests; publishing transparency reports; publishing law enforcement guidelines; fighting for users' privacy in courts; and publicly opposing mass surveillance.

Following leaks made by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, more companies have sought to be more forthcoming in how they handle government demands for data. Companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast issued their first-ever transparency reports during the period that EFF examined, and it's partly why major companies like Google and Facebook ranked high on the list.

But others haven't stepped up to the plate as much, according to the EFF. Snapchat earned only one star for publishing law enforcement guidelines, the report said. A Snapchat spokeswoman said the company routinely requires a search warrant when law enforcement comes knocking, but the nature of its service means often there is no content to divulge.

Amazon received two stars for requiring a search warrant and for fighting for users' privacy in courts.

To develop its report, EFF collaborated with the data analysis company Silk to analyze trends in government access requests.

The EFF characterized the report's findings as generally positive. "We saw a remarkable improvement in the areas we've been tracking," said Cindy Cohn, legal director at the EFF, with nearly a year's worth of Snowden leaks helping to lend public attention on the issues.

But researchers also lamented the government's turtle-like pace in protecting users as the technology industry plows ahead. Even more troubling, the government has relied on legal uncertainties to gain greater access to user data, they said.

"Too often, technology companies are the weak link, providing the government with a honeypot of rich data," the EFF's report said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Subscribe here for up-to-date channel news

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags amazonCredo Mobilesocial networkinginternetElectronic Frontier FoundationFacebookCriminalAppleYahooconsumer electronicsGoogleat&tMicrosoftsecuritylegaltwittersocial mediadata protectionsearch enginesSilkInternet-based applications and servicesdropbox

Featured

Slideshows

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island

​Ingram Micro’s Hooked on Lenovo incentive programme recently rewarded 28 of New Zealand's top performing resellers with a full-on fishing trip at Great Barrier Island for the third year​ in a row.

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island
Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney

Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney

As the dust settles on the 2017 AWS Summit in Sydney, ARN looks back an action packed two-day event, covering global keynote presentations, 80 breakout sessions on the latest technology solutions, and channel focused tracks involving local cloud stories and insights.

Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney
Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day

Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day

Ingram Micro hosted its third annual Cure Kids Charity Golf Tournament at the North Shore Golf Club in Auckland. In total, 131 resellers, vendors and Ingram Micro suppliers enjoyed a round of golf consisting of challenges on each of the 18 sponsored holes, with Team Philips taking out the top honours.

Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day
Show Comments