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

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.

appleeffgoldstars
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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
84 months ago

yeah right...lets be serious now. Apple collects just as much data as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Our privacy is a lost cause.


Ha! Apple may collect data, but no one beats Google on that one!
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago

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.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago

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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago
Google got 6 stars as well? That's just a farce. We know what google does with our personal data. Hard to take this kind of survey seriously after this.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago
yeah right...lets be serious now. Apple collects just as much data as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Our privacy is a lost cause.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago


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


I'm not sure that a post on wikipedia is definitive proof of anything. That document does not look all that official looking.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

Images of Supposed AirPods Diagnosis Tool Shared Online

Thursday October 22, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter. Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...