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Thursday, 18th June 2015

Who Has Your Back 2015: Which Companies Help Protect Your Data from the Government?

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

From Executive Summary:

(W)e increasingly look to technology companies themselves to have the strongest possible policies when it comes to protecting user rights. Which companies will stand by users, insisting on transparency and strong legal standards around government access to user data? And which companies make those policies public, letting the world—and their own users—judge their stances on standing up for privacy rights?

For four years, the Electronic Frontier Foundation documented the practices of major Internet companies and service providers, judging their publicly available policies, and highlighting best practices. Over the course of those first four reports, we watched a transformation take place among the practices of major technology companies. Overwhelmingly, tech giants began publishing annual reports about government data requests, promising to provide users notice when the government sought access to their data, and requiring a search warrant before handing over user content.....

The criteria we used to judge companies in 2011 were ambitious for the time, but they’ve been almost universally adopted in the years since then. Now, users should expect companies to far exceed the standards articulated in the original Who Has Your Back report. Users should look to companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon to be transparent about the types of content that is blocked or censored in response to government requests, as well as what deleted data is kept around in case government agents seek it in the future. We also look to these companies to take a principled stance against government-mandated backdoors.

In this, our fifth annual Who Has Your Back report, we took the main principles of the prior reports and rolled them into a single category: Industry-Accepted Best Practices. We’ve also refined our expectations around providing users notice and added new categories to highlight other important transparency and user rights issues.

We think it’s time to expect more from Silicon Valley. We designed this report to take the basic principles of Who Has Your Back up a notch and see which companies were still leading the pack.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 1.5 MB)

+ Online version, including individual company reports and ratings


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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