Which Websites Can You Trust with Your Data?
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There's only so much you can do to protect your online privacy. Once you've joined a social network, sent an email or simply opened your browser, you have to trust the services you're using.
When it comes to privacy policies and how they're upheld, companies' performance varies. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today (May 1) released its third-annual privacy survey, "Who Has Your Back?," which shows big improvements by some online giants and failure by others.
Twitter and Sonic.net (a northern California Internet provider) were the only companies of 18 surveyed that won gold stars across all six EFF categories, including "require a warrant for content" and "publish transparency reports." [See also: Governments Hungrier for Customer Data ]
On the opposite end of the scale, Verizon and MySpace were the only companies to earn no stars.
Apple, AT&T and Yahoo! received only one star apiece, for either lobbying for privacy rights to Congress or fighting for them in courts. Other companies on the low end, with two or three stars, included Amazon, Facebook , Comcast and Tumblr.
"There's a lot to celebrate in this report, but also plenty of room for improvement," EFF said in a statement. For instance, EFF pointed out that Amazon holds huge quantities of information, yet does not promise to inform users when their data is sought by the government, and Facebook has yet to publish a transparency report.
"We remain disappointed by the overall poor showing of [Internet service providers] like AT&T and Verizon," EFF said.
The report may spur lagging companies to improve. In the meantime, Internet users can utilize the report to make more informed choices about which websites they'll trust with their data.