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Which Tech Companies Should You Steer Clear Of?

23 June 2015 by Jenn Granger

The war for your data continues. The government wants it and us users – understandably – don’t want to give it up. As we increasingly look to tech companies to protect us, some have stepped up, and some are giving information out like a desperate second hand car salesman. A new report ranks the biggest tech companies based on privacy criteria and it turns out there are some that you need to steer clear of!

Who's Got Your Back?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released their 2015 ‘Who’s Got Your Back?’ report. The EFF has been releasing these reports since 2011 and each year it expands to include the current biggest companies, as well as dropping some to keep up with the cool kidz.

This year it was found that WhatsApp was rated the lowest – which is surprising as they’ve previously been pretty hot on end-to-end encryption which, technically, should protect user data – along with AT&T. Although WA is owned by Facebook it was rated separately and, surprisingly perhaps, Facebook did much better.

So now you know who to avoid, who’s best rated? Apple got full marks across the board, along with Dropbox, Adobe, Wikimedia, WordPress and Yahoo. And – as the issue is in the news more, and the public gets more savvy – this could be a deciding factor for users picking tech organisations.

The five categories that the companies are evaluated on are: if they follow best practices for data security, if they let you know when the government demands your data, whether they’re transparent around their data retention policies, whether they disclose when government asks for content to be removed, and if they’re openly against backdoors that give the government easy access to data.

The report recommends that companies give users a heads-up when the govt has asked for their data and the hope is that the report will push companies to improve their privacy practices. In the meantime all you can do is keep an eye on current legislation around the debate for your data, and make sure you know exactly who has your back!

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