Nothing posted online is private, of course – and any expectation of privacy on social media is pure comedy, but some sites (like Twitter) go the extra mile in an attempt to appease the masses.
And guess what? When stacked against other sites by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Twitter earns top marks for protecting user privacy! Guess who doesn’t?
The folks at EFF pride themselves on “defending your rights in a digital world” – so when it comes to online privacy, they pretty much set the gold standard.
In a study on “Who Has Your Back” when it comes to governments requesting your personal information, EFF evaluated companies on six criteria.
- Require a warrant for content of communications. In this category, companies earn recognition if they require the government to obtain a warrant supported by probable cause before they will hand over the content of user communications. This policy ensures that private messages stored by online services like Facebook, Google, and Twitter are treated consistently with the protections of the Fourth Amendment.
- Tell users about government data requests. To earn a star in this category, Internet companies must promise to tell users when the government seeks their data unless prohibited by law. This gives users a chance to defend themselves against overreaching government demands for their data.
- Publish transparency reports. We award companies a star in this category if they publish statistics on how often they provide user data to the government.
- Publish law enforcement guidelines. Companies get a star in this category if they make public policies or guidelines they have explaining how they respond to data demands from the government, such as guides for law enforcement.
- Fight for users’ privacy rights in courts. To earn recognition in this category, companies must have a public record of resisting overbroad government demands for access to user content in court.1
- Fight for users’ privacy in Congress. Internet companies earn a star in this category if they support efforts to modernize electronic privacy laws to defend users in the digital age by joining the Digital Due Process Coalition.
There were four criteria in previous years’ reports, but this year they split “Transparency” into two separate categories: One for publishing a transparency report on how often user data is given to the government, and the other for for publishing law enforcement guidelines on sharing data with the government.
The other new addition to the list revolves around warrants. Does the site require a warrant before disclosing your info? Find out below!
Spoiler: Of the “biggees” you’d expect to find listed, Twitter does the best job, with six out of six stars. LinkedIn follows close behind with five stars and Facebook . . . ah, Facebook – you some ‘splaining to do:
Do these findings surprise you?
Read the full report here – and be sure to note, Facebook fans: Although the EFF is seeing “that more and more Internet companies are formally promising to give users notice of law enforcement requests for their information unless prohibited from doing so by law or court order,” Facebook doesn’t. Boo. Hiss.
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