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Top Tech Companies Get Failing Grade on Privacy Rights

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 10:13
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The most comprehensive assessment to date of the user agreement policies of Facebook, Google and Microsoft says the world’s top tech companies are failing when it comes to privacy and freedom of expression.

Google failed to tell users when it edits or removes the user’s content, for instance. And web-based companies earned a score of six percent when it came to whether they allowed encryption of private content and the restriction of access to accounts.

U.S. companies were by far the worst offenders.

The Guardian reports:

All of the firms failed to offer their users basic disclosures about privacy and censorship, according to the survey, which was conducted by the New America Foundation thinktank. One didn’t even provide user agreements in the proper language. …

“There are no ‘winners’,” said the group in its executive summary. “Even companies in the lead are falling short.”

Given a percentage grade on privacy, freedom of expression and their commitment to those value based on an exhaustive analysis of their user agreements, no single company scored an aggregate grade above 65%. “On the one hand, it’s not like nobody’s trying at all, but the best-scoring company got a D,” said Rebecca MacKinnon, who runs the ranking project.

The low scores, each out of a possible 100%, highlight serious deficits at a time when data breaches frequently attributed to carelessness affect entities from married dating site Ashley Madison to CIA director John Brennan. They also illustrate how little control users have over the posts and videos they create on tech companies’ platforms.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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