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EFF: Trust Twitter -- but not Apple or Verizon -- to protect your privacy

Tim Greene | May 2, 2013
Verizon and MySpace scored a zero out of a possible six stars in a test of how far 18 technology service providers will go to protect user data from government data demands.

Microsoft and Twitter both started publishing transparency reports this year, joining five others, the report notes.

The most strongly supported criteria is publishing the guidelines they use for determining how to respond to government requests. A dozen companies do so, which is up seven from last year.

Tumblr and WordPress were added this year to the list of companies reported on, "but are already making a strong showing," the report says.

The list of companies included in the report has changed over the years. Initially in 2011, EFF chose the largest U.S. social networks, ISPs, and email providers and tossed in Apple and Skype because of the sensitive user data they store. A public vote to add one more company resulted in choosing Dropbox.

Foursquare and Loopt were added last year because they hold location data. This year Loopt was dropped because it has been sold. Similarly Skype was dropped because it was bought by Microsoft.

Also in 2012 EFF added SpiderOak to beef up the number of cloud storage providers.

"There's a lot to celebrate in this report, but also plenty of room for improvement," said EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo in a printed statement. "Service providers hold huge amounts of our personal data, and the government shouldn't be able to fish around in this information without good reason and a court making sure there's no abuse."

 

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