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EFF: Amazon, AT&T, and Snapchat Most Likely To Rat On You To the Gov't 69

jfruh (300774) writes "The EFF has released its annual "Who Has Your Back" report, which uses publicly available records to see which web companies do the most to resist government demands for your personal data, by requiring warrants and being transparent about requests received. Social media giants Facebook and Twitter scored quite well; Snapchat was at the bottom of the list, and Amazon and AT&T didn't do much better." Here's the report itself.
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EFF: Amazon, AT&T, and Snapchat Most Likely To Rat On You To the Gov't

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  • Everyone outside my house is at the bottom of the list, and even some people in my house.

  • #1 rats (Score:5, Informative)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @11:40AM (#47018037) Journal

    Banks. They rat you out to the government in every which way. Any given transaction is sent to the DEA and IRS just for starters. And of course the NSA gets everything by hook or by crook.

    • Yes, but most people don't use Bank of America to send nude pictures of themselves or set up questionably legal deals. They DO use snapchat for that *, and they do it because they think it's safe, confidential, and self-erasing. Thus the EFF is quite right to highlight that. Plus it does say "web services" which banks aren't really.

      * Or so I have read. No one sends me nude pictures or drug deals.
      • Yes, but most people don't use Bank of America to send nude pictures of themselves or set up questionably legal deals.

        Don't judge me.

    • Banks. They rat you out to the government in every which way. Any given transaction is sent to the DEA and IRS just for starters. And of course the NSA gets everything by hook or by crook.

      Banks are required by federal law to do this. They're under very strict regulations to report this sort of thing. The government knows if they control your wallet, they control you.

      Not that the banks are the good guys, but in this regard they have very little choice.

    • The difference is that the banks are required by law to report any interesting transactions, where interesting is defined as involving any notable amount of money. And notable is only five or ten grand, depending on who you ask. Casinos, of course, are under about the same sort of restrictions and reporting requirements. But Amazon ain't required to rat you out automagically

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @11:54AM (#47018131) Journal
    I seriously hope you guys don't do this.
    Got important conversations to have with people? Sensitive information to convey? Do it in person. The Internet isn't safe anymore, hasn't been for a while now, and it's just likely to get worse.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Got important conversations to have with people? Sensitive information to convey? Do it in person. The Internet isn't safe anymore, hasn't been for a while now, and it's just likely to get worse.

      The internet was NEVER safe. You could NEVER count on perfect secrecy - in fact, everything sent or received had to pass through someone else's hands.

      The old adage of "never put online what you don't want the world to know" has always been true. And the "world" refers to anyone - your parents, your boss, the authori

      • I never said it ever was intrinsically safe. However there was perhaps a 'golden age' where it was becoming popular, yet there really wasn't anyone monitoring everything going on, either. We're well past that point anymore. We may never see those days again, either; the Internet may be past the point of redemption, if you've been paying attention to the news the last few weeks. The Internet may in the future just become something you use to pay your bills and rent streaming movies to watch, and something yo
    • by ewieling ( 90662 )
      That is good advice, but almost nobody will listen. I've been slowly weaning myself off personal internet use. Down to only using 5 web sites (this one being one of them). I've also been slowly weaning myself of using my debit card and using cash when possible.

      You cannot be part of modern society and not use technology which could track you. I try to strike a balance. I consider most monthly bills a lost cause, there is no privacy for them, might as well have them automatically paid. What I want to
      • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:22PM (#47019005) Journal
        Of the few people who have commented on my original comment, I decided to reply to yours since you're touching on the most points I'd additionally like to cover anyway.

        Yes, the real problem is that almost nobody will listen -- but my theory is that of that group of people who won't listen, they break down into people who don't understand, or care, or have been indoctrinated to not care, that their personal privacy is actually something of value to them, and once it's gone, it's gone, and it may not be possible to get it back. I think that the younger the person we're talking about, the less they care, and what's worse, they really think that anyone who does value and protect their privacy 'has something to hide', i.e. they think those people are Bad People who are committing crimes or something. I blame corporate brainwashing and perhaps government propaganda for this attitude; these younger people will grow up into a world where the idea of not sharing more-or-less every moment of their waking lives with the world is completely foreign to them, and that if you don't share everything, there's something wrong with you. Older people remember a world where individual privacy was something that every healthy person wanted, and was entitled to as a human being -- and because of this attitude, younger people say 'well, they're old, they don't understand' and any warnings about privacy being violated is ignored.

        So far as planning to discontinue usage of your debit card (and presumably go cash-only)? Hate to tell you, but the situation has deteriorated to the point where if you do at some point have your financial paper trail taper off to almost nothing, you'll draw the attention of the government, which will assume you're up to no good and will start scrutinizing you. Then when they see you online footprint is also next to nothing, they'll be nearly convinced you're up to some sort of criminal activities, and you very well might be surveilled and profiled. If you happen to be in the wrong place(s) at the right time, you may be implicated in something you have absolutely nothing to do with, but since their 'profile' of you will seem to indicate to them that you're hiding something (because you're not one of the bleeting sheep they've carefully indoctrinated to be that way) it won't matter what you say to them or can prove. Welcome to the Dystopia, friend. "I do not plan on ever being a threat", you said at the end of your comment; I'm sorry, but in the end, as I said above, it won't matter, if you happen to get caught in one of their drag-nets. I do sympathize with you, and hopefully one decade things will turn around, but until then, I actually recommend you 'hide in plain sight' because to do too much to erase yourself, ironically, will just draw attention.
  • EFF Report? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @11:57AM (#47018155)

    Then why the fuck are you linking to

    Here's the actual report [], from EFF themselves.

  • I'll bet slashdot even lets the NSA read YOUR posts!

  • by aalevy ( 1602695 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @12:08PM (#47018261)

    In every case where the company did not earn a star, they report says it should not be seen as a demerit, as they may just not have had a chance to or not been able to report it. Doesn't that make it a poor comparison metric? Especially in comparison to the others...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    AT&T being two stars is a far different beast than Amazon being two stars even if that meant shoveling over everything they knew about me at the drop of a hat.
  • I'm OK with Amazon sharing info on someone who's obviously a mad bomber in the making. I'm not OK with them sharing data to prosecute people who's only crimes are violation of prohibitions that would be handled by a ministry of virtue and vice in an Islamic country, and are only prohibited because we've allowed Christian religious nutters too much power here. Drugs, gambling, and prostitution fall into this category.
    • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @12:44PM (#47018637) Homepage Journal

      I'm OK with Amazon sharing info on people I disagree with. I'm not OK with them sharing data to prosecute people that I agree with.

      Maybe that's not what you meant, but it sure sounds that way to me.

      • by captjc ( 453680 )

        It sounds more like it's OK to buy porn and dildos but you probably shouldn't buy a ski mask, tarp, hatchet and a copy of American Psycho at the same time.

        I remember there was some lab supply company selling a bottles of chloroform under Amazon Marketplace a few years ago. I have no idea how legit the offer was, but under "People who bought this also bought" was handkerchiefs, condoms, and rope. It had one 5-star review about the using it to "find love the old fashion way."

    • And now is Amazon going to spot a mad bomber in the making? It might be obvious if someone leaves a comment along the lines of "Zero stars. This didn't give me the bomb making instructions I was looking for. Recommend Other Book if you want to blow up your school like I do." By all means, report that commenter. But what about someone who bought a book titled "Explosive Chemistry" and then, a week later, ordered a pressure cooker. Should Amazon report that person? What if the person didn't buy the boo

      • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

        Where is the line and why is it Amazon's responsibility to report all potential bomb makers?

        The line is just the other side of "probable cause", and that is not something that can be codified into rules that Amazon et al must follow. Probable cause is something that must be evaluated, by those we have empaneled to do so, on a case by case basis. Furthermore, there must be a system of review/redress for when those judgements are in error. We don't have these things anymore. We have allowed the government (more precisely, a collusion between the executive and legislative branches, and the corporate

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      Really? I'm far more concerned that thanks to people like you, very soon it will be illegal to be a Christian and the past purchases I've made on Amazon will make it obvious that I am one and that I'll be easy to find because of it. Tyranny goes both ways, you know.
  • by jamesl ( 106902 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @12:33PM (#47018521)

    Social media giants Facebook and Twitter scored quite well.

    In the interests of completeness ...
    Apple, CREDO Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic, Twitter, and Yahoo Top Chart, Receive 6 Stars Each

    • It's good to see the PRISM list so well-represented. :-/

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        Google often gets criticized but it's pretty obvious to me that they fought it every step of the way and that most of the leaks from them were from a hack inside their network that they have since closed.
        • I actually agree (and not just with regards to Google either). Nonetheless, I still found it rather ironic that most of these champions for our privacy were named on the list of companies (quite likely unknowingly) providing data to the US government.

  • by bravecanadian ( 638315 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @12:44PM (#47018633)

    It is great that they make the govt do what they are *supposed* to have to do to get your data.. but look at their privacy policies for everything else!

    None. None. of these companies "have your back" as far as protecting your private information.

    Most of them have business models based completely on collecting, using and selling it.

    I'd be shocked if the govt didn't have a couple of advertising front companies that simply buy the data rather than request it officially.

  • The Lavabit case... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @12:47PM (#47018673)

    The Lavabit [] case kind of makes cooperating with the government a no-brainer from a business perspective. If you try and defend the privacy of your users you'll just have a judge basically say "fuck you, I'm the law" and you either capitulate or get slapped with contempt of court which means your ass is in jail until you decide to do what the judge says. Either you cooperate or your out of business and in jail which is sad really because even though the FBI was pursuing Snowden and wound up on Lavabit's doorstep which then eliminated the whole service for everybody via judicial action. Not saying that Snowden peed in the pool but the American Justice System was the culprit here and they're they ones that peed all over our Privacy rights in this case. The only way this will be solved is if there's a constitutional amendment reaffirming the 4th and 5th amendments along with your right to Privacy. I don't expect to see that in my lifetime because we have too many big players who want to intrude on your privacy. From Google to Facebook to License Plate Scanning companies, they are making money off of your actions and they'll be the first whiney bitches in front of congress any time there's any kind of legislation pending that could disturb their revenue stream. Wake up America, time to take your country back! Wait, nobody? Meh. Fuck it then.

    • People wonder why USPS is failing. Do you realize that a fairly simple technical implementation marking data with digital postage would legally shield it all? USPS should be Lavabit, hell an ISP. Its simply because the PEOPLE OCCUPYING OUR GOVERNMENT UNDERSTAND DDOS. Clog all the pipes. Eventually our 'No's will be accepted as authoratative. Because.
  • Does Snapchat send the government back in time to see my pictures before they were fully and completely disappeared?
  • (see Slashdot discussion here [])
    and now this. What the effin' happened to the EFF?

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