More tech companies push back against govt data requests

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More tech companies push back against govt data requests

Aussie authorities second largest requesters of user data.

Digital rights lobby group Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual survey of how technology companies respond to government requests for user data show that many more are going out to bat for their customers' privacy compared to last year.

The Who Has Your Back Report published this morning shows that whereas last year, only a Californian internet provider scored the full six out of six categories, in the latest round, nine out of the 26 United States companies surveyed achieved full marks.

Apple, Dropbox, CREDO Mobile, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo and Sonic were all give six stars for standing up for their users' privacy by the EFF.

The EFF partnered with data analyst Silk to produce the report, in which stars are awarded to companies surveyed based on if they require warrants for handing out user content and whether they notify people of government data requests, among others.

Publishing transparency reports and law enforcement guidelines, as well as going to court to defend users' privacy, also earn companies stars.

Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden is credited with having driven the change towards greater protection by companies of their users' privacy,the  EFF said.

"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," the lobby group's activism director Rainey Reitman said.

On the other side of the coin, EFF singled out image messaging service Snapchat, US telco AT&T and ISP Comcast for not requiring warrants for government access to user communications.

 

Source: Silk

 

Silk's analysis shows that while the United States is by far the largest requester of user data, Australian authorities are in the number two spot for the second half of 2013.

On average, just 15 percent of the Australian government requests to disclose user data were complied with, according to Silk's figures for the second half of last year.

However, several individual companies had higher compliance rates for Australian user data requests, such as Twitter which gave up data in 100 percent of cases, and Microsoft, which did so in 84 percent of demands, Silk notes.

Telstra was the the service provider most solicited for user data requests for last six months of 2013 with 40,644 demands

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