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Privacy group: Snapchat, AT&T and Amazon are least trustworthy with data

Snapchat was singled out as being the worst in protecting users' privacy, especially considering that the company collects extremely sensitive user data.
By Ananth Baliga Follow @antbaliga Contact the Author   |   May 15, 2014 at 6:07 PM
SAN FRANCISCO, May 15 (UPI) -- Amazon, AT&T and Snapchat ranked among the worst companies when it comes to protecting user's privacy and handling data requests from the government.

The report released by Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group, gave AT&T and Amazon two out of six stars, and Snapchat just a single star in its rankings. Of the 26 companies rated Apple, Credo Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic.net, Twitter and Yahoo were the only companies to receive all six stars in every categories.

"Snapchat joins AT&T and Comcast in failing to require a warrant for government access to the content of communications. That means the government can obtain extraordinarily sensitive information about your activities and communications without convincing a judge that there is probable cause to collect it," said EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo.

The EFF rated the large tech companies on the following six criteria: companies that require a warrant for content, tells users about government data requests, publishes transparency reports, publishes law enforcement guidelines, fights for users' privacy rights in courts and fights for users' privacy rights in Congress.

Snapchat was recently pulled up by the Federal Trade Commission for misleading users about the privacy of their disappearing messages service. The company had to settle with the FTC and will have its privacy program reviewed over the next 20 years.

"This is particularly troubling because Snapchat collects extremely sensitive user data, including potentially compromising photographs of users," the report says.

The report found that many large tech companies have changed their privacy measures after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked the NSA's mass surveillance program. Tech companies have had to work to regain the trust of their customers and have initiated significant policy reform.

Apple was applauded for "enormous improvements" it has made in the last year and Yahoo was appreciated for fighting a legal battle with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about user privacy.

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