Verizon, MySpace Fail Data-Protection Test: EFF
The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted a dramatic increase in the number of companies publishing law-enforcement guidelines but sees room for improvement.With the provocative title of "Who Has Your Back?" a new report concludes that while many technology service providers have made impressive strides in their commitment to users' rights in recent years, there is plenty of room for improvement. Increasingly, Internet companies are formally promising to give users notice about law-enforcement requests for information, unless prohibited by law or a court order, according to the report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit digital rights group. The organization also found a dramatic increase in the number of companies publishing law-enforcement guidelines for making data requests. This year, two companies—Twitter and Sonic.net—received a full six stars, while Verizon and MySpace earned no stars. The report examines 18 companies' terms of service, privacy policies, advocacy and courtroom track records, awarding up to six gold stars for best practices in various categories such as telling users about government data demands or publishing transparency reports. The largest social networking site, Facebook, has yet to publish a transparency report, and while Yahoo has a public record of standing up for user privacy in courts, it hasn't earned recognition in any of EFF's other categories.
Meanwhile, Amazon holds huge quantities of information as part of its cloud computing services and retail operations, yet does not promise to inform users when the government is seeking their data. Amazon also does not produce annual transparency reports or publish a law-enforcement guide, according to EFF.