Know Your Online Privacy

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2 min read

We believe deeply in an open and secure internet, and try to use services that respect our privacy. Knowing which companies do is way harder than it should be. Our friends at Ranking Digital Rights just made this easier.

Their first Corporate Accountability Index measures how well 16 internet and telecommunications companies perform on respecting user privacy, employing solid security practices, allowing encryption, and more.

Their work distills mile-long TOS agreements, occasional transparency reports, and other public statements. The ranking show those companies that have good policies and follow through, and those that don’t.

As a whole, the internet services that we rely on have a long way to go. Companies do not properly disclose how they collect, use, store, and share user information. Neither do they communicate about third-party requests to remove or share user data, as in the case of a court order or subpoena.

By and large, citizens cannot encrypt their own data while using services that internet companies provide. Nor do they have any say over how a company collects and shares their data.

The what and why of this report should be quite clear: we are leaving massive footprints on the internet and have little knowledge of how it’s used. Ranking Digital Rights has made the full data available for download, including researchers’ comments and responses from the corporations where available. We were pleased to partner with Ranking Digital Rights and Beekeeper Group to develop a set of web tools to communicate and explore the data.

The Guardian have put together some extensive coverage of the report. It’s worth a read. Also worth a shout-out is the Mapbox privacy statement, which we think should be a model.

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