International US digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a funky Infographic based on their Who Has Your Back? 2013 report (downloadable as a pdf). The Infographic summarizes the report’s assessments on various evaluation criteria, to give you an at-a-glance overview of which companies at least try to make it difficult for US government and law enforcement agencies to access their user’s data.
In the wake of the NSA scandals and the resultant loss of public trust, it seems that many companies are overhauling their standards of best practice, particularly in respect formally promising to give user’s notice of law enforcement requests (although court orders may prohibit them from doing this). Other positive trends include more companies publishing transparency reports and law enforcement guidelines.
Although it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of these measures in respect to the blanket surveillance carried out by the NSA’s PRISM program, it would appear that many companies are taking the issue seriously, with Google making the unprecedented step of challenging an NSA Security Letter in March this year, and Twitter asking a judge in May to throw out a court order requiring it to hand over messages posted by a Occupy Wall Street protester.
It seems that Edward Snowden’s brave actions may be having at least at little positive effect, with some major companies willing to make concrete moves to stand up to the immoral and bullying practices of the US authorities. We can but hope.
The Infographic, along with EFF’s notes can be found here.