Who Has Your Back? E.F.F. Releases 2015 Data Privacy Ratings

The Electronic Frontier Foundation released its 2015 report on corporate data policies and practices. The group evaluated 24 technology and communications companies based on five criteria: 1. Does the company follow industry-accepted best practices (requiring a warrant for handing over user data to governments, publishing a transparency report, and publishing a guide explaining how the company handles law enforcement requests for data)?; 2. Does the company tell users about government data requests?; 3. Does the company disclose its policies on data retention?; 4. Does the company disclose government content removal requests (if applicable)?; and 5. Does the company oppose “backdoors” which allow governments to access user data directly?

Here is a summary of the results:

  • There were a total of nine companies which satisfied all of the applicable criteria: Adobe, Apple, CREDO, Dropbox, Sonic, Wickr, Wikimedia, WordPress.com, and Yahoo.
  • Three companies received particularly poor grades: AT&T, Verizon, and WhatsApp. AT&T and WhatsApp satisfied just one criterion apiece, following industry-accepted best practices and opposing backdoors, respectively. Verizon received passing grades in two categories, following best practices and disclosing government content removal requests, but the latter category was not applicable to the other two companies.
  • Data giants Amazon and Google fulfilled the same three criteria, but both companies fail to disclose government requests for user data and their respective data retention policies.
  • Both Facebook and Linkedin were given passing marks in every category except for disclosure of government content removal requests/
  • 21 out of the 24 companies oppose backdoors. The three companies that do not are Reddit, Verizon, and AT&T.


Check out the full E.F.F. report here.

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