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Worst Companies At Protecting User Privacy: Skype, Verizon, Yahoo 113

Posted by timothy
from the race-to-the-bottom dept.
First time accepted submitter SmartAboutThings writes "Apple and Microsoft are one of the worst companies at protecting our privacy, according to EFF's privacy report. Dropbox, Twitter and Sonic have some of the best scores." "Sonic" is California ISP Sonic.net, which tops the field with the EFF's only 4-star rating. Of ISPs with national presence, ATT and Comcast come in with a single star apiece, and Verizon gets a goose egg.
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Worst Companies At Protecting User Privacy: Skype, Verizon, Yahoo

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  • Good to know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday June 03, 2012 @04:59PM (#40203939) Homepage
    Nice to know that among the 1 ISP option you have, they have a 0-star rating in keeping information private. I'm not sure what anyone is supposed to do with this information.
    • My 1 ISP option is Charter, which didn't even make the report (but Sonic.net did?).
      • Re:Good to know... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:17PM (#40204061)

        Sonic is like the Linux of ISPs. First of all, they run Linux for everything. They refuse to institute a bandwidth cap. They still offer Usenet feeds. Their bonded ASDL service is kick ass (the modems, however, leave something to be desired). It's cheap to buy a dedicated IP address (in fact, I think it's free, now), and you can even setup reverse DNS on your account management page! Basically, best ISP ever.

        And now they're in race with AT&T to install fiber in San Francisco.

    • Bug their politicians to do something about the monopoly. Obviously they won't fix the problem immediately, and if we're not careful, they'll make it worse, but the voters and consumers are largely apathetic about it now, and things are going from bad to worse. After all, the telecos aren't apathetic, and they have plenty of lobbyists and money. More public attention on the issue doesn't seem like it could make the situation any worse.
    • by swillden (191260)
      Encrypt everything.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe instead of spending all your time addicted to the internet you could do some coding, write a book, play chess, use a paint program or something. A computer will function you know if it isn't connected to the internet.
  • by bunratty (545641) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:01PM (#40203945)
    Apple and Microsoft are one company now? What will they call it? Applesoft? Microple?
    • Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    • by matunos (1587263)

      God help us. I'm pretty sure if Apple and Microsoft ever combined, the universe would explode.

    • They call it Craple.
    • Maybe Applesoft will transition aqua to Metro on all the macs. Can you just imagine the look on the anal Mac users faces? Mass suicide

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Whatever they call it, it will be rotten to the core. It already has a seedy reputation as it is and I don't find very appeeling what could stem from such a union.

    • by Lisias (447563)

      Crapintosh?

    • Crapware.
      Because we care
      About our bottom line.
    • by utkonos (2104836)
      I understand that there are many submitters from all over the globe here on slashdot, and many of them are second language speakers of english. But that is no excuse for the editors of this site letting so many gross errors make it past them and into published articles. Do they proofread, or even read for that matter, the articles that they accept?
    • by blacklint (985235)

      Hmm, the first product of Applesoft could be a BASIC Interpreter [wikipedia.org]!

      Amusing that name has actually been used by the two companies.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Amusing that name has actually been used by the two companies.

        Not when you know the history of BASIC. [wikipedia.org] Wozniac was 16 when BASIC was developed at Dartmouth, Gates was only 11. It was the perfect language for a tiny computer like the Apple 1 or the Commodore Pet (which iinm used MS BASIC)

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:03PM (#40203961)

    First time accepted submitter SmartAboutThings writes

    "Apple and Microsoft are one of the worst companies at protecting our privacy, according to EFF's privacy report. Dropbox, Twitter and Sonic have some of the best scores."

    "Sonic" is California ISP Sonic.net, which tops the field with the EFF's only 4-star rating. Of ISPs with national presence, ATT and Comcast come in with a single star apiece, and Verizon gets a goose egg.

    All shilling for Sonic aside, I'm pretty sure Apple and Microsoft are two companies.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyway, for real privacy we should become holders of the data.

    Freenet is quite cool with privacy&anonimity (slow and high latency, but most private solution I know).

    And Sone plugin offers anonymous "twitter" that can not be censored not tracked because
    everyone holds the data [parts] mirrored on their p2p nodes,
    and only YOU the publisher have the PRIVATE KEYs to your identity, same as with ssh or gpg
    no one can confiscate that (especially when they can't find you - therefore the anonymity part,
    problem, po

    • The main problem with DFS systems like freenet is bandwidth use. As the ISPs ratchet down what you get each month it will outright kill options like this.

      • by bmo (77928)

        Cloud storage in general is useless when there are bandwidth caps, whether DFS or not. "Cloud storage" is only useful as an intermediary to share small amounts of files and that's it.

        Nitpick: DFS=distributed file system. "DFS system" = distributed file system system

        --
        BMO

        • by nurb432 (527695)

          Yes, i know what DFS means, and I'm talking about a form of DFS in the cloud here as the only real solution. ( read up on freenet if you don't understand what i mean )

          • by bmo (77928)

            I know all about freenet. My point is that if you have bandwidth caps, transferring data in any meaningful amounts can lead to significant costs at the end of the month due to caps.

            Until this business about caps ends, the only actual use for DFS and other "cloud" schemes is for a way-station for small amounts of files sent to/from your (or someone else's) phone or mobile device, which has a 2 or 3 GB monthly cap for total traffic - up and down, combined.

            And when it comes to home broadband, try setting up h

            • by nurb432 (527695)

              My point is that if you have bandwidth caps, transferring data in any meaningful amounts can lead to significant costs at the end of the month due to caps.

              Umm i thought i said that myself, that DFS is the answer to all the other problems and then the only way to stop it is via caps. Perhaps i didn't say that but i thought i did..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:13PM (#40204039)

    The EFF is grading companies based on the following criteria (quoted verbatim):

    1) Tell users about data demands: a public commitment to inform users when their data is sought by the government.
    2) Be transparent about government requests: transparency about when and how often companies hand data to the government.
    3) Fight for users’ privacy rights in the courts
    4) Fight for users’ privacy in Congress

    Criteria #1 and #2 might be important, but more for people who live at the edge of the law or might be suspected (possibly wrongly) of ties to terrorist groups than to the average citizen.

    Criteria #3 and #4 are peripherally important to citizens but are tactically important to the EFF.

    When I think about user privacy on the Internet, I think of the aggregation and analysis of data on each person (anonymously, or identified by name) based on tracking cookies, social networking and forum posts, location and call data, online and credit card purchase history, and other information obtained via Internet search. The four categories the EFF is analyzing would be far down on the list.

    • by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:37PM (#40204203)

      Criteria #1 and #2 are important to everyone because of the very thing you mentioned in the statement. People wrongly suspected of ties to terrorist groups or what the US government considers terrorist groups. I for one am appalled that the government can keep a blanket request for data secret (without a warrant... thanks PATRIOT Act!) and not only that, keep what you're being investigated of secret... They can demand your papers and documents but not tell you why? How is that not a violation of the Constitution? This isn't a Democrat/Republican problem... this is a GOVERNMENT problem. Our problem is the morons want the government to coddle them and keep them from going hungry on one end, yet turn a blind eye when the government invades their privacy and tells them what they can and cannot drink or eat.. (Bloomberg... you cheese-eating fuck-monkey, I'm looking at you.) And god forbid you criticize the government or president. You're a dirty terrorist if you think the government sucks. Yeah, right. Call me a terrorist then, you cocksucking asshats.

      I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the entire process. Fuck 'em.

      • by Relayman (1068986)
        You don't get it. If you are a terrorist, you forfeit your Constitutional rights. Just don't be a terrorist (or download a motion picture as it's being released in theaters) and you'll be good.

        First, they came for the terrorists, but I wasn't a terrorist, so I didn't say anything. Next, they came for the pirates, but I wasn't a pirate, so I didn't say anything...
  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:19PM (#40204079)

    The EFF did nothing at all to consider privacy in general, and in particular with regards to businesses and other private entities. The chart is only about how the companies are interacting with governmental bodies (e.g. Congress, law enforcement). Facebook is widely regarded as being horrible when it comes to privacy, but it's because they keep abusing their access to everyone's information by sharing it with third-parties, using it to follow them around the Internet, and failing to follow the settings the user has indicated.

    Even companies that have been more benign have problems. Dropbox, for instance, had a notable bug earlier this year or late last where anyone could access anyone else's account. Their employees also have access to everyone's data and can read it at any time unless you encrypt it yourself. Where is the consideration for those sorts of factors?

    I'm far more concerned with companies sharing my information for profit than I am with companies sharing my information with the government. You can support privacy laws in Washington all you want, but when the rubber hits the road if you're selling me out for a quick buck, I don't want to be providing you with my information.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article hardly even qualifies as such - a quick scan ADD-friendly graphic (and the results in the post) state that, actually, the worse companies are Skype, Foursquare, Myspace, and Verizon. Microsoft and Apple didn't score highly, but they did score higher than those four.

    Gah.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Except that skype is now owned by microsoft.

      Although they represent separate business units and products.

  • 18 companies? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by csumpi (2258986) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:29PM (#40204159)

    18 companies with 4 yes/no checks. Nothing about how the companies use collected user data or how they share it. Complete fail.

    How can anyone call this a report?

    • by rgmoore (133276)
      You might want to try reading the report. It's not about what the companies themselves do with the data, it's about their willingness to provide data to the government. They give some detail about what the different categories mean, and they seem at least somewhat relevant. It's certainly better than knowing nothing.
  • Skype? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epp_b (944299) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @05:33PM (#40204187)

    The only reason Skype has a zero-score is because the EFF's criteria is inadequate. They're all contingent on these companies actually storing and using your data, neither of which Skype does. Skype actually takes it a step further and encrypts all communication. As far as I'm aware, Skype never sees your data, it's just a pipe.

    Skype is ahead of all of these companies, as far as I'm concerned.

  • by convolvatron (176505) on Sunday June 03, 2012 @06:20PM (#40204437)

    I know the article is meaningless, but sonic is just great.

    I've never had a provider before who

        - consistently answers the phone for tech support, and provides honest, useful advice and really address problems

        - is willing to own issues with the local loop provider

        - consistently ups my capacity and lowers my rate just because

        - encourages me to run an open access point

        - takes an unmitigated pro-consumer stand wrt net legislation at every opportunity

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is the Google logo used as the icon for this article? Why not Apple or Microsoft?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How the FUCK does Dropbox get a good score?

    Their incompetent piece of dogshit CEO made a mistake that let ANYBODY log into ANY account with ANY password, and he COVERED IT THE FUCK UP.

    And beyond that, the utterly worthless and incompetent asshole berated any customer who complained in any way about this massive, massive fuckup, and the subsequent coverup.

    Beyond that, the ridiculously dishonest and untrustworthy cunts over at dropbox FLAT OUT FUCKING LIED about encryption, claiming they encrpypted data that

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How the FUCK does Dropbox get a good score?

      Their incompetent piece of dogshit CEO made a mistake that let ANYBODY log into ANY account with ANY password, and he COVERED IT THE FUCK UP.

      So... I just logged into your account on Slashdot.

  • Good thing they clarified, cause I was wondering why a fast food chain was leaking my privacy.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    We need to know which companies are the most dangerous with respect to maintaining our privacy. The danger would be a function of how much personal information they have, their policies for sharing, the risk that they would/could change their policies towards being more lax, the risk of intrusion, the risk of subpoena, the risk of socially engineered attacks.

  • Apple is not an ISP, Sonic.net does not sell computers, so the sort of info that Sonic would be asked for is going to be different to the sort of info requested from Google or MS. I can see where they are coming from, I just question the methodology. Also there is a difference between complying with the law, whatever you may think of it, and obstructing it.

  • I can vouch for Yahoo! I signed into Hotjobs some years ago, as well as some other job sites, and the result is a flood of junk mail in my inbox - not counting any mail from those sites. Yahoo! does one of the worst jobs in figuring out spam and simply deleting it, even after it's told to treat certain recipients as junk. And b'cos Yahoo! limits the #filters one can have, one can't even set enough junk filters w/o affecting the other rules one may need for processing the mail.

    I do have different accoun

  • how the fuck can Dropbox get a good rating when they've consistently undervalued the importance of my data to stay private? shutting off passwords for all users during maintenance, and failing to turn them back on was simply a human blunder - but a signal that security is an afterthought.

  • I used Sonic.net from the first year they opened until about 2006 when I had to move out of their service area. I had the pleasure of working in their data center several times whilst working for a local peak oil think tank. Although many things can (and are) be said about the owner, Dane Jasper, he has created the best "mom & pop" ISP in California hands down. The support is amazing, they have a variety of different broadband products, including fiber in some areas (you may remember an article recently

  • I can safely say they have the best customer service of any company I've dealt with in the past 10 years.

    Love them, love them, love them, love them. Can't imagine the internet without them. I was never happier than the day I ditched Speakeasy (then owned by Best Buy) and got Sonic.net.

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