Who's keeping Big Brother at bay?
As we share more and more of our personal data with third-party services, the issue of what those services are doing to protect our data becomes more important. If you've ever wondered which companies do the most (and which do the least) to protect your data from the government, U.S. non-profit advocacy company, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has you covered.
In an infographic entitled "Who Has Your Back?" the EFF has taken information gleaned from the policies of major Internet companies and laid out which companies do the most to protect users' data from the government. According to the EFF's list, Twitter does a lot to protect your data when the government comes knocking. The microblogging site requires a warrant for content, informs users of government requests for data, publishes transparency reports and law enforcement guidelines, and fights for users' privacy rights in court and congress. By comparison, Apple only fights for users' privacy rights in congress, but takes no other steps to protect users' data from the government. Similarly, Yahoo will fight for users' privacy rights in court but takes no other action. Web giant Google ticks all the boxes but doesn't tell users' about government requests for data. Meanwhile, Facebook publishes law enforcement guidelines, requires a warrant for content, and fights for users' privacy rights in congress but MySpace ticks no boxes at all.
The good news is that, in general, the EFF saw an increase in the number of companies publishing law enforcement guidelines compared to last year. In 2013, seven new companies were awarded stars in this category (Comcast, Foursquare, Google, Microsoft, SpiderOak, Tumblr, and Wordpress). There was also an increase in the number of companies promising to give users notice of law enforcement requests for their information.