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EFF finds improvements in big tech firms' transparency

Good post-Snowden reading
Fri May 16 2014, 09:22

INTERNET RIGHTS GROUP the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published its latest look at information technology companies' transparency and awarded several of them perfect scores.

The EFF's "Who Has Your Back" report is the second in a series, and sees the EFF awarding scores depending on firms' respect for transparency and privacy. Post Snowden, and following a lot of work by the companies, the EFF awarded perfect scores to firms including Apple, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

These firms all got six-star ratings in the report, and the EFF gave them positive nods for publishing transparency reports and guidelines, requiring warrants, challenging demands in the US Congress, and informing users about government demands.

Messaging application Snapchat did not perform so well and was awarded only one star for publishing its law enforcement guidelines - a set of company information that Apple updated recently.

The self-destructing messaging app was not alone, though, and the EFF hoped that it and other laggards pull their protective privacy fingers out.

"Snapchat joins AT&T and Comcast in failing to require a warrant for government access to the content of communications. That means the government can obtain extraordinarily sensitive information about your activities and communications without convincing a judge that there is probable cause to collect it," said EFF staff attorney Nate Cardozo.

"We urge these companies to change course and give their users this simple and needed protection from government overreach."

While some internet titans got six stars, the same could not be said last year. Then the EFF only handed two firms top marks, and it gave them to a US ISP and Twitter.

This year firms including Wordpress, Tumblr and Linkedin missed top ratings because they did not strive to protect punters in court. µ


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