The Electronic Frontier Foundation released its annual "Who Has Your Back?" report for 2014, and the privacy rights organization gave a handful of companies top marks for protecting user privacy, including Apple, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic.net, Twitter, and Yahoo!
Each of those companies earned a star—it's a binary report where companies either earn a star or they don't—in six categories. 17 other companies, including Amazon, Adobe, and other tech giants earned lower scores. You can see all the scores below the fold.
Those six categories:
- Require a warrant for content of communications
- Tell users about government data requests
- Publish transparency reports
- Publish law enforcement guidelines
- Fight for users’ privacy rights in courts
- Publicly oppose mass surveillance
"Apple earned credit in all 6 categories in this year’s Who Has Your Back report," the EFF wrote in its report. "Apple’s rating is particularly striking because it had lagged behind industry competitors in prior years, earning just one star in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Apple shows remarkable improvement in its commitments to transparency and privacy."
The chart below shows Apple's scores for each of the last four years:
The EFF has been leading the fight against mass government surveillance since disclosures by Edward Snowden in 2013 revealed details about such programs. Those revelations included accusations that Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft—and most of the other major companies who earned top marks this year—were cooperating with the the U.S. National Security Agency to provide information about their users.
The blowback from those revelations—whether true or not—has been that these same companies dramatically stepped up their public and behind-the-scenes efforts to get the NSA to be more transparent about its programs. This was due in part because these companies were taking huge reputation hits in both the U.S. and overseas.
Apple particularly stepped up its actions on this front, as the company became more transparent about its policies regarding government requests for information, and that effort was recognized by the EFF.
But the same is true for most of the companies who scored top marks in this year's report. Of those nine firms, only Sonic.net and Twitter had across-the-board stars last year, while this marked the first time Credo Mobile was included in the report.
The EFF's Full Chart: