WhatsApp, Amazon and 8 Others Who You Shouldn’t Trust with Your Data

Prayank

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released their yearly review titled ‘Who has your back’ of companies dealing with huge amounts of customer data and ranking them in accordance with their privacy practices.

WhatsApp needs to refine its privacy protection policy

This is the seventh annual review by the EFF in which it analysed policies of 26 companies, rating them on the following five parameters:

  • Follows industry-wide best practices
  • Tells users about government data requests
  • Promises not to sell out users
  • Stands up to NSL gag orders
  • Pro-user public policy: Reform 702

WhatsApp and Amazon have scored the lowest based on the aforementioned categories used for rating. While both of them were rated highly for following best practices and supporting reform 702, they aren’t rated well on the other three counts — garnering a poor 2-star rating.

“We were disappointed that two technology companies fell short of other online services. We urge both Amazon and WhatsApp to improve their policies in the coming year so they match the standards of other major online services,” the EFF stated.

Airbnb doesn’t fair badly but has much room for improvement, like others

Other companies that scored poorly are:

  • Airbnb (3/5): Didn’t score well in the following categories — tell users about government data requests and promises not to sell out users.
  • Snap Inc. (3/5): Didn’t score well in the following categories — tell users about government data requests and stands up to NSL gag orders.
  • Tumblr (3/5): Didn’t score well in the following categories — promises not to sell out users and stands up to NSL gag orders.
  • Twitter (3/5): Didn’t score well in the following categories — tell users about government data requests and stands up to NSL gag orders.

AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon all scored a single-star rating for following industry-wide best practices but were rated low in all the other categories.

“When it comes to adopting policies that prioritize user privacy over facilitating government data demands, the telecom industry, for the most part, has erred on the side of prioritizing government requests,” the EFF stated in their report.

“But telecommunications can do better. Credo Mobile has repeatedly proven that telecom companies can adopt policies that earn credit in every category year after year,” they added.

According to the EFF’s handbook, following industry-wide best practices includes “best practices of publishing law enforcement guides, requiring a warrant before disclosing user content to the government, and publishing a transparency report”.

As the world is witnessing a technological revolution with the widespread use of the Internet, the report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation can be used as an appropriate yardstick to measure how major companies which leverage the internet are taking care of the data you entrust them with and your privacy too.

Adobe, Credo, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr and WordPress were given a 5-star rating based on the parameters.

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Prayank

Written By

Prayank

Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.