EFF Gives Apple ‘6-Star’ Privacy Rating Against U.S. Government Data Requests

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published their Who Has Your Back? 2014: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests report, which summarizes how various tech companies handle your private data when it comes to government data requests:

We entrust our most sensitive, private, and important information to technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Verizon. Collectively, these companies are privy to the conversations, photos, social connections, and location data of almost everyone online. The choices these companies make affect the privacy of every one of their users. So which companies stand with their users, embracing transparency around government data requests? Which companies have resisted improper government demands by fighting for user privacy in the courts and on Capitol Hill? In short, which companies have your back?

Apple received a top 6-star rating for 2014 as it met the criteria for top marks based on the following:

Apple earned credit in all 6 categories in this year’s Who Has Your Back report. Apple’s rating is particularly striking because it had lagged behind industry competitors in prior years, earning just one star in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Apple shows remarkable improvement in its commitments to transparency and privacy.

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Apple requires a warrant should any government agency want your information, specifically a court order. If the government seeks your data, Apple will inform users of these requests. The company also got top marks for transparency and revealing how many legal requests it received and how many accounts were affected, along with top makes for publish in hits law enforcement guidelines.

Apple will also fight for your privacy in court “If there is any question about the legitimacy or scope of the court order, we challenge it and have done so in the past year.” The company also got a top mark for being part of the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition, which opposes government collection of data via the internet.

Apple wasn’t the only company that received a top 6-star rating. CREDO Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic, Twitter, and Yahoo Top Chart also received top grades.

In Canada, Apple was the only tech company to respond to requests from the Interim Privacy Commissioner, when asked about how companies handle users’ private data.