Data protection report praises Apple while WhatsApp comes under heavy criticism

The annual data protection report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation has named Apple and Dropbox as some of the best companies for defending the data of their users while messaging service WhatsApp came under heavy criticism.

The fifth annual report from the non-profit electronic civil rights organisation titled ‘Who’s Got Your Back?’ assessed companies on five criteria ranging from their support for pro-privacy public policy to their disclosure of government data demands.

Among those who received five stars were Apple, Dropbox, Yahoo and Wordpress while WhatsApp and AT&T were awarded just one. The poor rating was a result of criticisms which included not telling users about government data demands and not disclosing their policies on data retention. Facebook scored a four star rating, losing marks for failing to disclose government content removal requests.

The report assessed WhatsApp as "notably lagging behind". It called on the brand to “publicly require a warrant before turning over user content, publish a law enforcement guide and transparency report, have a stronger policy of informing users of government requests, and disclose its data retention policies".

The report also highlighted a continuing trend in the failure of major telecom companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, to keep pace with the rest of the tech sector as both received poor results.

It appears that the majority of the tech industry is in alignment with regards to government mandated backdoors which significantly weaken security and give governments access to users’ data. Of the 24 companies evaluated, 21 of them opposed backdoors.

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