How Do The Online Services You Use Deal With Government Data Requests?

Illustration for article titled How Do The Online Services You Use Deal With Government Data Requests?

This is important! The EFF’s annual report card is out on how tech companies respond to government requests for your private data. Some companies take a firm position against government spying while others are basically government patsies. Where do the services you use stand?

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The report card rates 24 companies on five different questions. These are explained in detail over at the EFF portal for the report.

  1. Do they follow industry-accepted best practices?
  2. Do they tell users about government data requests?
  3. Do they publicly disclose data retention policies?
  4. Do they disclose how many times the government comes for data and how often they comply?
  5. Do they oppose backdoors into their data?

Nine companies admirably received perfect marks (Adobe, Apple, CREDO, Dropbox, Sonic, Wickr, Wikimedia, Wordpress.com, and Yahoo), while three companies really need to get their act together (AT&T, Verizon, and WhatsApp).

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Every year, the EFF explores a common public position that companies are taking, and this year it was backdoors. Do these companies publicly oppose giving the government access to their data via secret backdoors? It turns out that most do. Only AT&T, Verizon, and Reddit don’t. Good!

Here’s the rundown.

Illustration for article titled How Do The Online Services You Use Deal With Government Data Requests?
Illustration for article titled How Do The Online Services You Use Deal With Government Data Requests?

Make sure to head over to the EFF for more details on the report.

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DISCUSSION

Good stuff. Some rankings may be off...I do appreciate though Yahoo’s page on data demands, which is (comparatively) extremely detailed:

https://transparency.yahoo.com/government-dat…

P.S. Holy shit Taiwan. Second most-demanded country (first United States). What/why?? Or maybe I’m giving that report too much credit since it doesn’t list China as an entity demanded , so maybe rolls all requests into Taiwan. Also, I am drunk. But this is way more granular than something like...well, this is quickly the third down I find from googling “yahoo data demand”. Other such searches (replacing “yahoo” with “microsoft”, and “apple”) only list “[X] company has joined with others for demanding to notify users of data demands” or similar language professing intent but not actual result. No handy link like Yahoo made to what has been demanded.

Cannot find any page for Microsoft data demands. No page on Apple. Google at least has this, which is hilarious because it explains in posed-answered questions about how serious they are at wanting to divulge demands, yet don’t divulge shit. That’s their divulge report. A FAQ with no data. ROFL. Obviously they could have given real data—Yahoo did and isn’t currently in court for being terrorists. Google chose to play softball.

Maybe EFF needs to reevaluate as per which companies are oh so serious about divulging demands yet given an opportunity choose not to, vs. which actually do divulge.