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Amazon, WhatsApp score poorly in EFF’s annual privacy report

When you sign up for the world’s biggest services/apps, you’re giving loads of information to these firms. But who can be trusted with your data? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released its annual “Who Has Your Back” report to answer this very question.

The report grades some of the biggest companies in five categories, namely whether they follow best practices, tell users about government data requests, have a pro-user public policy, stand up to gag orders and promise not to sell out users.

The worst offenders? US networks AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon all scored one star out of five — a damning score by any measure.

The EFF also graded two companies with two stars, in the form of Amazon and WhatsApp. Both companies failed when it came to telling users about data requests, standing up to gag orders and promising not to sell out its users.

The EFF’s report found that US networks, WhatsApp and Amazon were the worst privacy offenders

“EFF’s survey showed that while both companies have done significant work to defend user privacy — EFF especially lauds WhatsApp’s move to adopt end-to-end encryption by default for its billion users around the world — their policies still lag behind,” the organisation wrote on its website.

“Online retail giant Amazon has been rated number one in customer service, yet it hasn’t made the public commitments to stand behind its users’ digital privacy that the rest of the industry has.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, as Adobe, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr and WordPress scored five stars. Several companies also scored four stars, such as Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Slack and Yahoo.

The watchdog also noted that every company has established industry best practices, such as requiring a warrant before releasing user data or releasing a transparency report. It also expressed concern over major US telecom networks siding with the government, but added that there were exceptions.

“For example, Credo Mobile has repeatedly proven that telecom companies can adopt policies that earn credit in every category year after year. Similarly, Sonic, an ISP competitor to AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile, and Verizon, has now earned credit in every category of EFF’s annual report for five years.”

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More

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