Privacy foundation scolds Amazon and WhatsApp

EFF says tech giants aren't putting the privacy of their users at the centre of their interests

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has rebuked Amazon and WhatsApp for their allegedly poor privacy practices.

The campaign group said the two tech giants should be doing better when it comes to protecting their users' privacy in its annual Who Has Your Back report.

The report looks at how 26 of the biggest companies treat their customers when it comes to privacy, rating them in five different categories - whether they follow industry best practices, tell users about government data requests, promise not to hand over data to governments, stand up to National Security Letter gag orders and support reforming section 702 to make sure the government isn't able to collect information about innocent internet users.

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The report revealed Amazon and WhatsApp only adhered to two of these criteria, while nine technology companies including Adobe, Dropbox, Lyft and Uber obtained five stars.

"We were disappointed that two technology companies fell short of other online services: Amazon and WhatsApp," said the EFF in its report.

"While both companies have adopted industry-accepted best practices of requiring a warrant for content, publishing law enforcement guidelines, and publishing a transparency report, and while we applaud both companies for advocating for reforms to overbroad NSA surveillance, these two companies are not acting as leaders in other criteria that we examine."

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Other businesses only obtaining one star out of five (although not coming under as much fire at WhatsApp and Amazon) included some of the US's major mobile networks AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.

The EFF called for the companies ranking low down on its league table to reform their policies, taking into account the performance and some of the steps taken by some of their biggest, higher performing rivals. Although it accepted some progress had been made since the report was first issued in 2011, there's still a way to go until tech companies put the privacy users at the centre of their organisation.


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