Care about your privacy? Don't use these apps and services.


Worried that data about you is being turned over by private companies to the government? Now you can find out which care your privacy, and which don't.

The way to know is to read the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) report, "Who Has Your Back? Protecting Your Data from Government Requests." The report takes an in-depth look at major Internet companies' policies about handing data over to the government. It rates companies based on categories including whether companies opposed government back-door data collection to whether they tell users about government data requests, disclose their data retention policies, and  follow industry-accepted best practices for things such as requiring the government provide a search warrant before handing over people's private communications.

In all, the EFF rated companies on five categories. Companies received a star for each of the categories in which they handled privacy properly. Two dozen companies were analyzed, including the Internet's biggest players, such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Verizon, AT&T, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and others.

The worst offenders? WhatsApp and AT&T, each of which had only one star. The EFF was particularly harsh on WhatsApp, noting:

This is WhatsApp’s first year in the report, and although EFF gave the company a full year to prepare for its inclusion in the report, it has adopted none of the best practices we’ve identified as part of this report.

WhatsApp was the only company out of the 24 that doesn't follow industry-accepted best practices. Its only star was due to its parent company Facebook's stand on opposing government backdoors.

AT&T didn't fare much better, also gaining only one star, for following industry-accepted best practices. Verizon did only slightly better, getting two stars, for following industry-accepted best practices and disclosing content-removal requests by the government.

The good news is that nine of the companies received stars in all five categories: Adobe, Apple, CREDO, Dropbox, Sonic, Wickr, Wikimedia,, and Yahoo. Google and Microsoft each received three, and Facebook and LinkedIn each got four.

The report is well worth the read. Get it here

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