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Amazon & Snapchat ranked bottom for government requests

Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo applauded for protecting user data

snooping

Amazon and Snapchat have been ranked among the worst companies for protecting users' data from government requests.

The findings have come in the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)'s Who Has Your Back? report, based around analysing the reactions of companies ordered to pass sensitive data over to governments.

All technology firms have different processes when it comes to protecting data, highlighting the need for an industry standard response.

The companies tested receive a "gold star" if they adhered to any one of six standards for data protection: requiring a warrant, telling users about requests, publishing transparency reports, publishing law guidelines, fighting for users' rights in court and fighting for their rights in the US Congress.

Snapchat placed dead-last with just one star. The firm publishes law enforcement guidelines but nothing else. Any user whose data is requested by the government will not be informed.

Above Snapchat but still rated only two stars are Amazon and US telecoms company AT&T. The retail giant's awards stemmed from its warrants for data and protecting its users in court. AT&T received two stars for publishing both law enforcement guidelines and transparency reports.

A number of companies improved their support for their customer base and took steps towards protecting their users data from intrusions and mining. The results come in stark contrast to the details of the PRISM leaks, which claimed prominent technology companies had been working with agencies in the colection of user data.

A measure taken by big tech firms in the wake of the leaks was to begin publishing transparency reports, one of the catergories that the EFF counts.

"The sunlight brought about by a year's worth of Snowden leaks appears to have prompted dozens of companies to improve their policies when it comes to giving user data to the government," Raiey Reitman, activism director at the EFF, told The Guardian.

Apple and Yahoo received the highest praise from the EFF, gaining the full six-star rating. Yahoo specifically won praise for fighting for user privacy in the US foreign intelligence surveillance court.

Facebook has greatly improved its standards, jumping from one star in 2011 to six stars 2014, despite founder Mark Zuckerberg's previous stance that privacy on the internet was "dead".

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