Data Privacy Winners And Losers
Privacy on the 'Net is something all of us consider important so the recently released study done by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) regarding the "who's who" of Data Privacy reveals data of interest to just about everybody. Those receiving a 5 star rating are fewer than we might hope but it's not really surprising - beyond that which online entities have less than 5 stars is not surprising either. Do we really expect AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to be completely open and forthcoming?
Well perhaps that would be nice but it is what it is. The EFF has done similar studies in each of the last four years and there are ominous trends although improvements are also noted. Bearing in mind that all of the criteria measured are not the same from year to year the study still seems to achieve a decent aggregate representation of how a given online entity deals with Online Data Privacy. Looking just at the 2015 set of criteria (most recent and likely most relevant), who represents a winner - treating online data with privacy in mind, and who represents a loser (or makes a loser out of you and me)? There are cases of both and the EFF presents data beyond just the graphic illustrations.
Now let's get to what this really means. The following is a list of the specific criteria the EFF used when conducting their 2015 study:
Follows industry-accepted best practices
Tells users about government data demands
Discloses policies on data retention
Discloses government content removal requests
Pro-user public policy: opposes backdoors
So with regard to those criteria who fares well and who does not? Of the 24 sites studied, 7 actually garnered 5 stars and those are Adobe, Apple, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Wikimedia, Wordpress, and Yahoo. There are 2 who managed only to boast 1 star and those are AT&T and Whatsapp. In each of those 2 cases it is appropriate to note that the "Discloses government content removal requests" criteria was listed as Non Applicable. Comcast can only boast 3 stars and Verizon just 2 while Facebook actually earned 4 stars.