AT&T, WhatsApp score worst in privacy rankings

Technically Incorrect: The Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual "Who's Got Your Back?" rankings see a vast gap between some tech companies and others.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Not trustworthy? AT&T/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I tend to trudge through life believing that no one actually has my back.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation contains more optimistic sorts. Every year, it releases a ranking of tech companies and their propensity (or not) to protect your data from nosy governments.

There might be those who believe no company actually protects their data, though some claim to. However, the 2015 rankings offer a stark contrast between those whom the EFF praises and those with whom it's less impressed.

Adobe, Apple, Dropbox, Yahoo and Wordpress are among the companies earning the full five out of five stars on the privacy scoreboard. The criteria stretch from "follows industry best practices" to "pro user policy: opposes backdoors" and "discloses government content removal requests."

Some tech companies fared less well along these axes. Google and Microsoft both mustered just three stars each. Which might seem odd for two companies that both claim certain levels of respect for privacy. The report does offer that Microsoft has made strides and will be in a position to earn a fourth star in September.

Still, they're not the worst. WhatsApp and AT&T muster just one star apiece. This might seem doubly peculiar in the case of the former as its parent company, Facebook achieves a respectable four stars.

I have contacted each of those less-than-perfect companies for their thoughts on the matter. Facebook had no comment. The others have yet to offer any reaction.

Naturally, there's a certain healthy flexing of hope whenever some companies at least appear to be in their corner in the fight against intrusion by officialdom.

But do many people really feel there's hope? A recent University of Pennsylvania study offered that Americans have given up hope of ever retaining their privacy again.

Can we possibly believe that, when shoved by the push of authority, corporations actually choose to protect us?

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