The privacy and civil liberty group Electronic Frontier Foundation said in its latest report that users should not trust Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and a few other technology companies with their data. The EFF listed 18 major technology and Web firms based on how far they go to protect users’ data from the government.
Only six companies received five out of six star ratings. The report ranked these firms based on their law enforcement guidelines, privacy policies and their willingness to fight for the protection of users’ data. Only two firms, Twitter Inc. and Sonic.net, received a full six-star rating. In contrast, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and MySpace couldn’t fetch even a single star. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), which fought for its users in court, was given one star. The iPhone maker and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) also received one star for fighting in congress on behalf of their users.
220 Million Customers At Privacy Risk
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said that it is disappointed by the poor showing of Internet providers like Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). They have a combined customer base of 220 million, but they rank extraordinarily badly. Recently, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) customers saw their data being wiretapped by government agencies.
Apart from Twitter Inc. and Sonic.net, the other most trusted firms in the list were DropBox, LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently released its first transparency report after allegations that Chinese authorities were tracking the activities of Skype users. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was singled out for challenging the National Security Letters. Facebook Inc. received only three stars.
Improvement Over Last Year
The report praised Twitter Inc. for defending its users in court. It stood firm for its users in the New York v. Harris case related to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Most of the companies have improved their privacy policies and ranking since last year. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Twitter Inc. improved their rating by two stars from the previous survey. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) earned three additional stars this year, while Foursquare rose from zero last year to four stars in the latest report.