Apple, Comcast, Others Dissed Over Government Privacy

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Apple, Comcast, MySpace, Skype and Verizon are most willing to throw users under the bus when it comes to privacy, says the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Looking to rally users around the issue of privacy, the EFF has drawn up a handy chart for how tech companies respond to government requests for data. The advocacy group has also launched a petition seeking better policies from these companies.

When using web services or connected gadgets, users typically agree to terms of service, and these often lay out what happens to user data in response to government subpoenas. EFF activist Rainey Reitmann explained to Forbes that Apple, Skype and Verizon use vague language in their terms of service to give themselves leeway when handing user data to the government. Those companies also haven’t joined Digital Due Process, an industry lobbying group that wants stronger privacy protections for users and clearer policies from the government.

Google and Twitter both earned higher marks than most companies. The latter successfully fought in court for the right to inform users that it was handing over account information for Julian Assange and four Wikileaks associates.

The EFF’s report, pictured below, awards full stars for companies who are doing a “stellar job,” and half stars for companies who are moving in the right direction.