Apple given full marks in new data privacy report

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Who has your back? Apple does.
Photo: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Apple is one of nine different companies to be given the full five stars in this year’s “Who Has Your Back?” report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

“This is Apple’s fifth year in the report, and it has adopted every best practice we’ve identified as part of this report,” the digital advocates group’s report reads. “We commend Apple for its strong stance regarding user rights, transparency, and privacy.”

Apple is praised for requiring a warrant before handing over content to law enforcement, publishing a yearly transparency report, informing users about government data demands, disclosing its data retention policies and content removal request, and opposing software backdoors which can be used for government snooping.

Other companies given five out of five stars by the report include Adobe, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Sonic, Wikimedia, WordPress, Wickr and Yahoo. In other ratings of note, AT&T and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp received one out of five stars, Google, Microsoft and Amazon received three stars, and Facebook and Twitter received four.

While Apple also received full marks in last year’s EFF report, for the previous three years it was awarded just one one star.

The turnaround coincides with Tim Cook’s push to make Apple a privacy-oriented company — epitomized by his memorable statement that “you are not our product,” referring to customer data.

Apple has also put its name to various campaigns protesting mass government surveillance. Yesterday, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described Apple’s approach to privacy as, “a good thing for privacy … a good thing for customers.” Long may it continue!

You can check out the EFF’s entire 2015 “Who Has Your Back?” report here.