EFF Report Highlights Apple's Efforts to Protect Consumer Data, Increase Transparency

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group, today released its annual "Who Has Your Back" report, ranking companies on their efforts to protect user privacy and resist government data demands.

Apple was awarded a full six stars in all of the categories the EFF measures, including requiring a warrant for content; telling users about government data requests; publishing transparency reports; publishing law enforcement guidelines; and fighting for users' privacy rights in courts and in Congress.

The EFF notes in its report that Apple has made a "remarkable" improvement over the course of the last year when it comes to user privacy policies, as it only earned a single star in past years. The report, which is based on publicly available information, does not include secret surveillance orders.
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.
After the public revelation of PRISM, a top secret intelligence gathering program run by the U.S. National Security Agency, Apple made several moves towards increasing transparency about data requests to assure users it was not participating in the program.

The company issued a "Commitment to Customer Privacy" statement and began disclosing information on government data requests and its own policies, which include asking for warrants for information. It also released a "Report on Government Information Requests" back in November, and has pledged to implement a policy to notify users of information requests from law enforcement.

In addition to its new transparency policies, Apple also joined the Government Surveillance Coalition to urge the U.S. government to agree to greater transparency over demands for user data and Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Barack Obama and other tech executives to discuss government surveillance in August of 2013. In March, Apple hired Sabrina Ross to oversee the protection of consumer data and in May, the company released guidelines for law enforcement requests, specifying what information the company can and cannot retrieve from devices after receiving a search warrant.

In an interview with ABC, Cook publicly discussed the NSA's surveillance operations and once again assured users that the Government does not have access to Apple's servers. "They would have to cart us out in a box for that. And that just will not happen," he said. "I've been pushing very, very hard to open the books and be totally transparent."

Along with Apple, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo also received a full six star rating from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: EFF Report Highlights Apple's Efforts to Protect Consumer Data, Increase Transparency
 

Spetsnazos

macrumors regular
May 3, 2012
244
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yeah right...lets be serious now. Apple collects just as much data as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Our privacy is a lost cause.
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
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Also receiving 6 stars: Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo!, and others. But these ratings don't mean that each company gives you complete information about what they do with your data within their own corporate garden, or that they give you control over these uses.
 

simon48

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
1,315
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yeah right...lets be serious now. Apple collects just as much data as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Our privacy is a lost cause.
Most of the companies that make the majority of their money on ads are going to collect more data than Apple.
 

springsup

macrumors 65816
Feb 14, 2013
1,097
785
Correction:

ranking companies on their efforts to protect user privacy and resist government data demands.
should be:

ranking companies on their efforts to protect user privacy by resisting government data demands.
Everything in the table is about government data requests, not user privacy in general. Otherwise lots of people would be scratching their heads to work out how in the world Google managed to get top marks in a user privacy survey (you know, beside their very large donations to the EFF).
 

springsup

macrumors 65816
Feb 14, 2013
1,097
785
yeah right...lets be serious now. Apple collects just as much data as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Not even close. For one thing, Google AdWords is spread over a ridiculous number of websites, and every one of them is a tool to report back to Google which websites you visit.

Apple doesn't collect anything like that kind of pervasive, intrusive information.
 

macs4nw

macrumors 601

louiek

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Mar 7, 2006
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In an interview with ABC, Cook publicly discussed the NSA's surveillance operations and once again assured users that the Government does not have access to Apple's servers. "They would have to cart us out in a box for that. And that just will not happen,"


Actually......
 

Rocketman

macrumors 603
While this does not protect us at all if the government wants access, it gives more transparency than ever, and a head's up as to policies of disclosed or public programs.

The government can do whatever it wants. Including inflating the currency to make all poor people poorer to assure the voting block has something to complain about. Why can't we have 2% deflation instead of inflation? Spending.

Never let a good crisis go to waste, or be wasted if available.

Rocketman
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
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The thick of it
That chart begs the question: What the hell was going on from 2011-2013?:confused:
It might be more of a case of Apple now publicizing the fact that it's in compliance with the EFF. Apple simply might not have previously felt the need to divulge that information, until not doing so made the company look bad.
 

japanime

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2006
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That chart begs the question: What the hell was going on from 2011-2013?:confused:
To answer that would require real journalism, which would divert the crack MacRumors reporting staff from collecting the latest breaking news on iPhone 6 mockups, Beats Electronics, Flappy Bird and Angela Ahrendts. :p
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 601
Apr 11, 2014
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USA
Yeah right, maybe if Steve Jobs was alive this would be more true. He was a man of character and would bow to no government scum, but these days there's no doubt Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and all the other hooligans in Silicon Valley are giving the NSA EVERYTHING they have on you-emails, chats, video messaging, and more.

Basically, Apple and Google and the rest of them are buddies with the NSA and this corrupt government we have and yes they know everything you do and everything you say.

This is definitive proof.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PRISM_Collection_Details.jpg
 

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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
It might be more of a case of Apple now publicizing the fact that it's in compliance with the EFF. Apple simply might not have previously felt the need to divulge that information, until not doing so made the company look bad.
This report doesn't seem to have anything to do with Apple publicizing compliance. It's issued by the EFF.

Also a lot of the policies that got Apple 6 stars occurred within the past year. I'm not knocking Apple. I am genuinely curious what you have to do/not do to warrant a 1 star rating.
 

FreemanW

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2012
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The Real Northern California
I believe the depth and breadth of data collection that Apple engages in leaves all but the NSA green with envy.

IOW, Apple is second only to the NSA when it comes to knowing everything possible about those browsing their website and those using their hardware.
 

hansonjohn590

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2013
352
4
I'm not sure that a post on wikipedia is definitive proof of anything. That document does not look all that official looking.
Have you been hiding under a rock for the past year? The PRISM program and that slide was one of the first (if not the first) things Snowden leaked. I'm not sure what an 'official' looking slide is supposed to look like, maybe you need to stop watching so many movies.
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 601
Apr 11, 2014
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I'm not sure that a post on wikipedia is definitive proof of anything. That document does not look all that official looking.
The NSA has not denied the PRISM program, in fact they recently unclassified it. So it's 100% true.