For the first time in three years, Apple, which is no longer the world's most valuable firm, has not been ranked among the top 20 most trusted companies for privacy.
According to the Ponemon Institute's 2012 Most Trusted Companies list, the company dropped by six spots to settle for the 21st position. The iPhone maker was once listed in the top ten most trusted companies. Google, meanwhile, dropped from a previous high of 10th place to 23rd.
The annual study asked participants to name which companies they deemed to be most trustworthy in regards to protecting the privacy of its customers/users' personal information.
Apple were ranked as the eighth most trusted company on the list back in 2009. In 2010, though, it dropped to 12th place and dropped by a further two places in 2011. Topping the list of most trusted companies includes American Express, Hewlett Packard, Amazon, IBM and the U.S. Postal Service.
During 2011, Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to have "grilled" Path co-founder Dave Morin after it was revealed that the app was uploading users' address books without their permission. Following the incident, the former implemented revised privacy protection rules, which required developers to obtain explicit user permission before an app could access contact information.