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EFF: Trust Twitter — Not Apple Or Verizon — To Protect Your Privacy

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the trust-a-flash-drive-encased-in-concrete-at-the-bottom-of-the-ocean dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 75

tdog17 writes "Verizon and MySpace scored a zero out of a possible six stars in a test of how far 18 technology service providers will go to protect user data from government data demands. Twitter and Internet service provider Sonic.net scored a perfect six in the third annual Electronic Frontier Foundation 'Who Has Your Back?' report. Apple, AT&T and Yahoo ranked near the bottom, each scoring just one star. 'While we are pleased by the strides these companies have made over the past couple years, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Amazon holds huge quantities of information as part of its cloud computing services and retail operations, yet does not promise to inform users when their data is sought by the government, produce annual transparency reports, or publish a law enforcement guide. Facebook has yet to publish a transparency report. Yahoo! has a public record of standing up for user privacy in courts, but it hasn't earned recognition in any of our other categories. Apple and AT&T are members of the Digital Due Process coalition, but don’t observe any of the other best practices we’re measuring. ... We remain disappointed by the overall poor showing of ISPs like AT&T and Verizon in our best practice categories.'"

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75 comments

Breaking: American Press to Ignore National Securi (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598683)

BOMBSHELL: Saudi Arabia warned the United States IN WRITING about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2012, and rejected his application for an entry visa to visit Mecca in 2011

  Saudis developed intelligence separately from Russia, which also warned the U.S. about the accused Boston bomber

  A letter to the Department of Homeland Security named Tsarnaev and three Pakistanis as potential jihadis worthy of U.S. investigation

  Red flags from Saudi Arabia included Tsarnaev's name and information about a planned explosive attack on a major U.S. city

  Saudi foreign minister, national security chief both met with Obama in the oval office in early 2013

  One wonders, what exactly, it would take at this point for our media to actually fall back in love with the once celebrated exercise of truth-gathering and shoe leather reporting. Yet again, this comes from the foreign press.

I find it quite remarkable that in the short span of 5 years we have evolved as a country from the era of presidents steering hurricanes to minority neighborhoods with Halliburton-controlled weather machines to the highest office in the land just being too darn complex for any one man to influence inconsequential subtleties like national security and intelligence gathering.

Yet here we are. Even if this ends up proven incorrect, it warrants some initial inquiry by our press, right?

The lead story on NBC News right now is "Poll: Many Americans uninformed about health care overhaul", by the way.

Re:Breaking: American Press to Ignore National Sec (-1, Offtopic)

Spad (470073) | about a year ago | (#43598731)

Totally off topic, but:

All the US media cares about is ratings because of your stupid setup that has news programs included in channel ratings and because that's how you sell papers. As a result, news organisations only care about covering stories that they think people will want to read about.

Nobody wants to read insightful, factual stories about actual things, especially if they involve other countries somehow, they want to have their views reinforced about how the government is trying to turn the country into a communist superstate, that mexican islamist jihadis are queuing at your southern boarder waiting to blow you all up, that some people are christian and this somehow oppresses those who aren't while those who aren't are similarly oppressing the christians and that 'murica is the greatest country on God's green earth (when it's not being turned into a communist superstate or being flooded with mexican muslims).

Re:Breaking: American Press to Ignore National Sec (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598785)

"Nobody wants to read insightful, factual stories about actual things"

You are wrong. Indeed there are many who only want to by lead by the nose and trust the media in what they are told, watch American Idle and be happy.

But there are just as many - if not more that see the fraud. There's not many around here though. That's why I like to poke the stick in one in a while to see what bites.

I mean can't you see the bias, the obvious stinking lying agenda driven bias of the media pushing socialist policies and socialists onto the public like flies attracted to shit? You very well know what the reaction to these facts would be if the parties were reversed.

I am just calling for some actual reporting and actual journalism - politics aside, how can you argue against that?

Re:Breaking: American Press to Ignore National Sec (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43600645)

Nobody wants to read insightful, factual stories about actual things,

No, it's like pop music. The demographic that is most profitable is idiots, therefore most of the industry is geared to compete for that idiot demographic. With music, most of the people buying has been tweens and teenagers who have nothing better to do with their time and listen to whatever shit their friends are listening too. It's convenient to the music industry too, because bands and singers which are nothing more than a face and a good producer are cheaper: you can make the next one hit wonder and pay them nothing. Musicians who you would describe as real artists with talent, they usually aren't willing to whore themselves out for 15 seconds of fame and a really small paycheck.

With news geared towards the masses, it has been discovered that people who tune in every night and spend money whatever they see ads for, those people dislike challenging journalism, they like stories that confirm their own beliefs and what they think is true. They like simple moral outrage. Which is easier and cheaper to do than real journalism anyway. They can make a better profit by going after those people, so they do.

It says nothing about the whole population, it only is an indication of profitability.

Re:Breaking: American Press to Ignore National Sec (0)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#43598849)

While I agree the US MSM are pathetic I got 36,000+ hits on google news searching on "Tsarnaev" and "Saudi", I read about it last week from Australia, I'm not even that interested in the story so it's hardly a fucking secret.

What is this Reddit? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598699)

EFF never said "Trust Twitter — Not Apple Or Verizon — To Protect Your Privacy"

Re:What is this Reddit? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43598791)

EFF never said "Trust Twitter — Not Apple Or Verizon — To Protect Your Privacy"

Typical slashdot summary. It should be clear that this only refers to responses to law enforcement and government requests, and does not look at data security, what they do with the data themselves, or what they pass on to third parties in commercial deals

Re:What is this Reddit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599129)

RTFA - its networkworld title not the poster, bit of perspective would go a long way.

Re:What is this Reddit? (1)

linest (157204) | about a year ago | (#43598857)

No, it's slashdot. Whether that makes it better or worse would make for a reasonable discussion. If you're aware of a place where reasonable discussions happen on the Internet, feel free to clue me in. We'll go there and have one. I would rule out any of the sites thusfar mentioned.

Re:What is this Reddit? (4, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#43598963)

EFF never said "Trust Twitter â" Not Apple Or Verizon â" To Protect Your Privacy"

Just as well. If you value your privacy, there's only one way to protect it, and that is to simply keep your private stuff private. As soon as you put it into someone else's hands, you're fucked.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead".

Re:What is this Reddit? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43599521)

And when the option to keep your private stuff private is removed without your knowledge? What then?

It leads me to a similar problem I have with the current approach to privacy. That whole concept of 'no expectation of privacy' is only relevant to the concept that you cannot make something private again once it has been made public, not that everything about you is public unless it is kept in a closet in your house with no windows and lead walls.

Re:What is this Reddit? (1)

ryanmc1 (682957) | about a year ago | (#43601365)

And when the option to keep your private stuff private is removed without your knowledge?

This doesn't make any sense. If all your private stuff is only in your head, then how is it "removed without your knowledge"? I think the point of the GP was that if you don't want others to know about something, then:
1. don't do it in public where others can see it
2. don't do it in private in front of a webcam
3. don't put it on the internet, (ie Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Apple)

I am sure there are others, but the point is, keep your private stuff to yourself and you have nothing to worry about.

People who are surprised that Google, Apple, Facebook and others share their personal data are funny. Don't give them your personal data in the first place and they will have nothing to share.

Re:What is this Reddit? (1)

ryanmc1 (682957) | about a year ago | (#43601375)

4. don't take pictures of it

Re:What is this Reddit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43601755)

Yeah, have fun with that. Fortunately, the EU has stronger privacy protections than the US, and there's nothing corporate cheerleaders such as yourself can do about it.

Re:What is this Reddit? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43603107)

The point is that it is unreasonable to expect people to live their entire lives in sealed container only conducting business with the outside world via a trusted third party just to have a chance to preserve some privacy.

The point is that to function as a human being you shouldn't be required to surrender all of your privacy simply to interact with other humans.

Re:What is this Reddit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600033)

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead".

....and the third doesn't go around creating memorable quotes.

the EFF has no idea (5, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43598703)

The EFF ranks these companies based on what they say they do for privacy. Nobody knows what they actually do. For all we know, Twitter may be an FBI/CIA front, or bound by some gag order. You can't trust online providers at all, and any use of an online service is a calculated risk, trading some privacy for some utility. Publishing this kind of nonsense, the EFF does more harm than good, by giving users a false sense of privacy and security.

Re:the EFF has no idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598735)

Using any on-line service for anything other than making data available to the general public is just plain stupid.

That said, the way data can be mined by bots in such huge quantities and using even the most minimal details almost all humans would ignore is just as dangerous. You know something is wrong when you can't even say something publicly at all (no matter how innocent) and it not result in corporations coming up with a detailed profile of yourself.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43598889)

The same can be said for using the mail service. There are loads of things they [government] are not supposed to do but for some reason they want to tell themselves that because the medium is different, privacy and the constitution aren't relevant.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43600425)

The idea is that "the end justifies the means." If your intentions are good then you can do bad things. Is it okay to torture someone for information on where a terrorist suspect is hiding? Most would say no. How about if they know the location of a nuclear warhead hidden in Manhattan set to go off in 8 hours? Want to bet that the numbers for that wouldn't be drastically different? It all starts with good intentions.

Re:the EFF has no idea (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#43598737)

The KGB of the past would have salivated even at the idea of 1/100th of what these modern social networks and products can do to collect private information and crush dissent.

Re:the EFF has no idea (5, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43598793)

Considering the lengths the Stasi went to get information, they must be kicking themselves. It could have been so easy, all you have to give your people is a few silly games and trinkets and they hand over their privacy gleefully.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43599113)

Considering the lengths the Stasi went to get information, they must be kicking themselves. It could have been so easy, all you have to give your people is a few silly games and trinkets and they hand over their privacy gleefully.

If you think they didn't use bribes, you've got another think coming. The question is whether Apple would use violence to force you to be a customer if they had the option open.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | about a year ago | (#43599137)

They don't need to they have people queuing for 3 days for the new iDevice, its basically self-flagellation.

Re:the EFF has no idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599913)

When Apple wins a government contract, that's exactly what ends up happening.

Try refusing the portion of your taxes which go into Apple's warchest.

Re:the EFF has no idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43603663)

The question is whether Apple would use violence to force you to be a customer if they had the option open.

Of course they wouldn't. What a wildly retarded question.

Re:the EFF has no idea (2, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43598805)

Indeed, Apple for example ranks poorly because they say nothing, about anything, ever. The same reason that Greenpeace scored them poorly for environmental friendliness –they'd published no reports saying "we will eliminate xyz chemical from our packaging by abc year", mostly because they'd already eliminated xyz chemical.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#43598933)

I'm a pretty good chemist, but have never heard of this "xyz" chemical. Would you care to enlighten us?

In any case, Apple would have to be well up there in any list of over-packagers. And as an exhibition of the triumph of form over substance, it works brilliantly.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43598943)

In any case, Apple would have to be well up there in any list of over-packagers.

Really? Their packaging is rarely larger than the item it encases by half an inch to an inch in each dimension. What makes you think they're high on the list of over packagers?

Apple overbuilds its boxes (2)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#43598993)

Really? Their packaging is rarely larger than the item it encases by half an inch to an inch in each dimension. What makes you think they're high on the list of over packagers?

Because their boxes are seriously overbuilt. The box an iPhone comes in is very nice but is far more robust and expensive packaging than is actually required for the purpose of safely conveying the product to customer's hands. They use it for marketing and to convey a sense of quality but there is no question that they over package their products.

Re:Apple overbuilds its boxes (1)

Webcommando (755831) | about a year ago | (#43599543)

Because their boxes are seriously overbuilt. The box an iPhone comes in is very nice but is far more robust and expensive packaging than is actually required for the purpose of safely conveying the product to customer's hands. They use it for marketing and to convey a sense of quality but there is no question that they over package their products.

I'm not sure I fully agree. If their product came damaged because of cheap packaging, the world would be up in arms about a $500+ device being damaged during shipping.

Also, Apple packaging is mostly just cardboard which is easy to recycle. Most of the other products I buy have packaging loaded with cardboard, Styrofoam (or press paper forms), plastic bags around everything, and plastic or wire cable ties. Apple has a screen protector, tiny plastic band around cables, and some cardboard.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. In that order. (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#43600827)

I'm not sure I fully agree. If their product came damaged because of cheap packaging, the world would be up in arms about a $500+ device being damaged during shipping.

Apple could use considerably less expensive packaging and still keep the product safe. In a past life I owned a company that shipped about 10,000 custom packages a year. I know from first hand experience that Apple's packaging is more than is necessary to keep the product (reasonably) safe. While it is very nice, Apple's packaging is done the way it is for marketing.

Also, Apple packaging is mostly just cardboard which is easy to recycle.

Just because something can be recycled doesn't mean one should use more of it. The phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" indicates the order in which those things should be done. It's better to Reduce than the Reuse and better to Reuse than Recycle. Apple could easily reduce their cardboard use by using thinner cardboard while still keeping their products intact for delivery. Since the boxes are so nice they also could offer to reuse them if you drop them off at one of their stores. Paper making is a nasty, wasteful process which consumes copious energy and water and recycling paper is only marginally less so.

Re:Reduce, reuse, recycle. In that order. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43600929)

Just because something can be recycled doesn't mean one should use more of it. The phrase "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" indicates the order in which those things should be done. It's better to Reduce than the Reuse and better to Reuse than Recycle. Apple could easily reduce their cardboard use by using thinner cardboard while still keeping their products intact for delivery. Since the boxes are so nice they also could offer to reuse them if you drop them off at one of their stores. Paper making is a nasty, wasteful process which consumes copious energy and water and recycling paper is only marginally less so.

And I'm sure Apple has done the analysis to ensure that if they could use thinner cardboard, they would to save money. Because when you're selling 100M+ of a device, saving 1 cent on cheaper cardboard is a reduction of $1M. And we know how Apple prides itself on its margins.

As for wastefulness of paper - note that making electronics involves using tons of nasty chemicals and poisons, tons of water and lots of energy as well.

Re:Reduce, reuse, recycle. In that order. (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#43601397)

And I'm sure Apple has done the analysis to ensure that if they could use thinner cardboard, they would to save money.

I'm sure they have as well and they've chosen to use thicker cardboard than necessary for marketing reasons. It takes a little searching to find but Apple has admitted publicly that their packaging is very much overbuilt to convey an image of quality from the moment you get your hands on the box. It's actually quite a clever detail and my guess is that they believe (perhaps rightly) the perception of quality is worth more revenue than the cost savings from using only the minimum amount of packaging required.

As an example, the last time I bought a phone from Apple it was shipped to me direct from the factory. They could have packaged it in the box that it shipped in but instead they packaged the phone's box inside another box which is wasteful. I understand why they did it but that does not mitigate the fact that they used more packaging that was actually necessary. The very nice iPhone box was entirely unnecessary in that case and served no functional purpose regarding delivery.

As for wastefulness of paper - note that making electronics involves using tons of nasty chemicals and poisons, tons of water and lots of energy as well.

Very true but largely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. It doesn't follow that just because the electronics were toxic to produce that somehow mitigates the environmental impact of paper production. That's like saying we should ignore a misdemeanor because the same person committed a felony as well. Apple could reduce their paper usage but has chosen not to do so for marketing reasons.

Re:Apple overbuilds its boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600179)

Really? Their packaging is rarely larger than the item it encases by half an inch to an inch in each dimension. What makes you think they're high on the list of over packagers?

Because their boxes are seriously overbuilt. The box an iPhone comes in is very nice but is far more robust and expensive packaging than is actually required for the purpose of safely conveying the product to customer's hands. They use it for marketing and to convey a sense of quality but there is no question that they over package their products.

Before I got an iPhone, I had a Motorola RAZR.

The RAZR came in a box that occupied at least four times the volume of the one the iPhone came in.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43598945)

Indeed, Apple for example ranks poorly because they say nothing, about anything, ever.

That's not exactly true.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599033)

Er, no.

Apple scored poorly for environmental friendliness because they were demonstrably still using specific chemicals and types of non-recyclable plastic as well as having a planned obsolescence programme on their devices by making it difficult for users to replace batteries, whilst at the time selling devices whose batteries would at best last a few years before beginning to seriously lose charge creating an unnecessary surplus of binned devices increasing the landfill problem unnecessarily.

Apple actually changed it's practices after it got a lot of bad press over these issues, just as it took a flurry of reports on low paid, high suicide rates and poor working conditions etc. at their manufacturers before they started doing more regular audits.

Still, nice try.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43599085)

Actually, the only practice apple changed significantly was that they started publishing environmental reports asserting all the things that were already happening. Greenpeace increased their score only because reports were published, despite the fact that nothing changed.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43605079)

Apple scored poorly for environmental friendliness because they were demonstrably still using specific chemicals and types of non-recyclable plastic as well as having a planned obsolescence programme on their devices by making it difficult for users to replace batteries, whilst at the time selling devices whose batteries would at best last a few years before beginning to seriously lose charge creating an unnecessary surplus of binned devices increasing the landfill problem unnecessarily.

You could try to post which chemicals Apple was using at a time when other manufacturers stopped using them. I doubt you can find any evidence of this. On the other hand, it is well documented that Apple hadn't _promised_ to remove BFRs from their products (bromine flame retardants) because they were already gone, which lead to Greenpeace rating Apple much lower than for example HP who promised to remove BFRs at some point in the future.

Older "non-replacable" batteries are easily replaced by anyone who cares (I replaced the one in my iPod mini myself with a battery purchased on eBay for £3.95), newer ones are rated for 1,000 charges and Apple will replace them for you.

Re:the EFF has no idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598999)

Probably a disinformation, like when FBI said they had to stop some investigation because of Tor, or that they can not read iMessages.
It makes no sense to announce these weaknesses because if they were real they coud be used be used against them, therefore it must be a disinformation crafted to create false sense of security amongst potential targets...

Re:the EFF has no idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599405)

My paychecks definitely don't come from the government. We've gotten no gag orders thus far that I know of; the only superinjunctions I've heard of have been against individual Twitter users, not the company itself. But that said - please, hold us (and all other companies) accountable for our actions, both good and bad.

Re:the EFF has no idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599993)

Yes, but publicly stating that you are willingly share customers data with the gov. with a "what are ya doing to do about it" attitude vs. claiming to be a guardian of privacy while you are secretly sharing data are two different things. The second case leaves room to pressure and challenge the hosting providers to do the right thing.

The EFF report is a spotlight on the providers that puts them on the spot.

Re:the EFF has no idea (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#43601949)

WE do know Twitter seems very happy to roll over and hand your data over. They shouldn't get any stars.

Hahaha (0, Troll)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43598705)

This says I should trust google with all my data hahahaha Seriously? What the fuck.

Re:Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598797)

I wondered when the Scroogling would start...

You Microsofties are so predictable.

Re:Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599509)

Satisfied Linux user here. I don't trust Google at all. I use Startpage.com and several browser add-ons to get Google search results without Google data gathering.

Plenty who distrust Google are not pro-Microsoft. That's your bias.

Joke's on you... (4, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#43598819)

This says I should trust google with all my data

Actually, it says that Google is better than Microsoft or Facebook at protecting user's data from government requests, and much better than Apple or Amazon (to pick a few). Trust is not implied; companies are scored on items on which they should be distrusted. Google scores nearer the better end of that scale than Microsoft or Facebook, and companies like Apple (unsurprisingly) are among the worst.

Re:Joke's on you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43598871)

LOL - I can assure you that's bull.

Well now I have warm fuzzies. (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about a year ago | (#43599007)

I really appreciate the assurances of random anonymous giggling internet tough guys.

They really help me sleep at night.

Re:Well now I have warm fuzzies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599207)

Give me a break. Come to SV and see how many employees are shared between random three letter government agencies and Google. If you think that the government doesn't have access to their data you're incredibly naive.

Re:Hahaha (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43599065)

Yes, because contrary to all the pro-Microsoft, anti-Google FUD that gets posted around, Google is one of the few companies that's actually done a fairly decent job of protecting data. Even in the case where they collected a bunch of Wifi data with their street cars there's a) No evidence they did anything with it, and b) It was them who approached the various government agencies responsible for protecting privacy around the globe admitting they fucked up rather than simply deleting it and trying to cover it up.

Compare this to companies like Microsoft, whom I know has sold my MSN contact list details on given that links have been made to people with whom I have zero connection other than via MSN messenger on Facebook and LinkedIn and Facebook that has explicitly broken the law by breaching the Data Protection Act by allowing friends to opt 3rd party companies in to accessing my data - something which only I can legally do.

Therein lies the problem, the gulf between the FUD spread by Microsoft and Facebook about Google and the reality of how bad Google actually is is quite large. I've yet to find one shred of evidence of Google passing my data on without my permission, or in a way I did not expect, which is more than can be said by just about every other tech company including companies like Oracle that explicitly send me marketing e-mails despite explicitly opting out on sign up.

As the summary points out, Google also publishes a transparency report and such, and provides links to original copies of DMCA requests where they've received them and had to act on them. This is all far more than most other companies.

It's not that I'm a fanboy, I can't particularly say I support any company given that they're there to make money off me at the end of the day so hence I can never trust that they have my best interests at heart, but what I can personally judge companies on is the reality of how they've acted with regards to me personally, and both right now and historically, Google is still by far one of the most ethical tech companies out there based on empirical evidence in my experience.

For one, Google doesn't seem to need to pay for stupid FUD campaigns that have become so obvious and annoying that Microsoft and others have been doing so prominently. That alone says a lot.

Re:Hahaha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599293)

Yup, FUD's strong there. Just for most popular example:

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place

... Or if you have attention span longer than one second and don't just repeat a sound bite:

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.

So a warning not to trust third parties online becomes "Let them eat cake!"

Re:Hahaha (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43600541)

At the end of the day you have to show some sense. It is almost impossible for even the major tech companies to safeguard their own info. Why do you think they can safeguard yours? If there is something you are doing that you don't want people to know about the last place you need to put info about it is on the internet. Laws aside that is just plain stupid. If someone guarantees your privacy on the internet assume it is a lie and life will be better for you. Honestly if I was engaged in criminal activity I wouldn't even have a cell phone. It is nothing more than a tag along snitch.

Re:Hahaha (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43607193)

Absolutely but the difference is that whilst Microsoft, Facebook et. al. seem happy to sell your data as is and without even bothering to anonymise it to whoever has a bit of cash even if that means breaking privacy laws in some of the jurisdictions they operate then they do, but in contrast, Google at least doesn't seem to.

It's that subtle difference between not giving a shit about where your data goes and what happens to it with Microsoft and Facebook and actively profiting off it's distribution, even if illegal compared to at least trying their best to keep it safe and secure with companies like Google and Twitter that really matters.

Re:Hahaha (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43599415)

The only one I can think of is apparently passing user contact information to the developers of apps in Google Play. I didn't realize they did this, and to date the information has not been abused, but I wasn't aware they did it.

Re:Hahaha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599699)

That's just the business and legal structure of a marketplace versus a store. Consider the Ebay and Amazon marketplaces, which have the same basic structure. They provide the venue for sale and can even process sales, but your transaction is actually with the merchant rather than Google, Ebay, or Amazon.

This distinction is extremely important from a business and legal liability perspective. For example, a marketplace is clearly eligible for a DMCA safe harbor exception for copyright violations, but a store generally isn't, because the store owns the customer relationship and vets the goods sold.

So, the only way to change this would be for Google to move to a store model like Apple's App Store, along with all the legal liability that comes with it and most likely necessitating a slow, manual review process like Apple has.

Re:Hahaha (2)

oldlurker (2502506) | about a year ago | (#43599539)

Even in the case where they collected a bunch of Wifi data with their street cars there's a) No evidence they did anything with it, and b) It was them who approached the various government agencies responsible for protecting privacy around the globe admitting they fucked up rather than simply deleting it and trying to cover it up.

Not claiming Microsoft isn't worse than Google, but you might be interested to know that point b is not entirely correct. It is the version often being repeated on sites like Slashdot, for some reason, but the actual sequence of events as extensively covered in European press [guardian.co.uk] as it happened:

Google actually first guaranteed the German authorities that they were not collecting anything. And first after the German authorities despite this assurance still demanded a full audit of the data anyway, did Google do their disclosure. In a situation where they would have been found out anyway. (trying to delete data after being requested for auditing would be a major crime)

I'm not saying this is making it more or less of an innocent screw-up from Google, your point a still stands, I'm just saying what the sequence of events in this story actually were.

Not who to trust (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | about a year ago | (#43598723)

This isn't who to trust, this is who is the least worst when it comes to handing over your information to the government or various corporate interests using the government as their proxy (RIAA, etc.).

Nothing in this report accounts for how the companies themselves treat your private data, just how they respond to requests from law enforcement.

i don't trust any part of the internet (3, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | about a year ago | (#43598759)

none of it, not even slashdot either

Re:i don't trust any part of the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599795)

Then perhaps you should start posting without logging in.

Re:i don't trust any part of the internet (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year ago | (#43601511)

There is a new one:
"My slashdot account number is higher because I'm less gullible" vs "My slashdot account number is lower because I joined up earlier than you"

Been on slashdot since '97, I didn't create an account for years.

Re:i don't trust any part of the internet (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about a year ago | (#43601915)

my first one was older than your's, but i used to be much more of an abrasive & vile troll and slashdot revoked my oldest account, i have since mellowed with age and had to "tone it down" so now the worst i do is light sarcasm and the occasional snide remark

Re:i don't trust any part of the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43612737)

ah, slashdot started in 97. I found them because I'm in to perl too.

That doesn't mean "Trust Twitter" (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43598799)

That means "Trust Apple and Verizon less than you would trust Twitter... if you trusted Twitter".

Re:That doesn't mean "Trust Twitter" (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43599099)

That means "Trust Apple and Verizon less than you would trust Twitter... if you trusted Twitter".

The takeaway here is that you should use secure encryption for all your data. Really, in this day and age there's no reason not to -- you don't have to trust anyone. Just use encryption that allows you to "trust no one".

I use SSL encryption for all my GMail, and I proxy my traffic through Tor -- They might have compromised exit nodes, so I just use a single hop local private Tor node, so I know it's not compromised; Bonus, it's very low latency. I use a nickname in real life and go by a different name on Facebook (the one my mom call me) -- And all those "friends" it lists? Ha! I've never met any of 'em in real life. That's why I'm suspicious of all those who are following me on Twitter, so all of my tweets are stenographically encrypted to appear as merely mundane events by way of an advanced word substitution cipher deceptively dubbed: TheySawUs, but it's spelled slightly differently... don't want to say it here where all those suspicious followers can see. I could block them on Twitter, or locally with a hosts file, but "keep your enemies closer", as they say...

I don't see what the big deal is. It seems everyone is already using adequate security measures to me.

Re:That doesn't mean "Trust Twitter" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600155)

I use SSL encryption for all my GMail

That's the funniest thing I've read on this site all month.

Re:That doesn't mean "Trust Twitter" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600507)

lul

Re:That doesn't mean "Trust Twitter" (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about a year ago | (#43599527)

When they say that Twitter has your back, that means they cover 140 square inches of it. That's definitely not all of it though, and it doesn't even come closing to reaching where they will cover your ass.

Wait a minute... (1)

bio_end_io_t (2771123) | about a year ago | (#43599127)

Why should Twitter waste effort sending any private data to the government when the government can just easily hack Twitter accounts?

The point is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599441)

We shouldn't have to trust anyone, anyone who says "trust me" is immediately suspect, right up there with the people who say "to tell you the truth" before a sentence.

Even it I trusted 'now' that may change, based on who bought them out, which governments co-opted them or if my, or their, ideals change.

Its like any relationship, things change and often not for the better.

And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43599745)

People still use MySpace?

The six areas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43600183)

From TFA: Requiring warrants before delivering content; telling users about government requests for their data; publishing reports that list agencies that made requests; publishing guidelines they have for responding to government requests; going to court to fight for users privacy; lobbying Congress to establish privacy rights by joining the Digital Due Process coalition.

Looking at the report, it's not clear that the EFF actually knows about the first two. For example, Amazon could require warrants for every data request. What they seem to be saying is that Amazon does not publish that it requires warrants. Nor does it promise to tell users that the government has requested data. This is because Amazon does not publish guidelines they have for responding to government requests. This blocks them from getting the first two stars, even if their behavior is otherwise.

What do we know about Amazon? They don't publish transparency reports or formal guidelines about how they respond to law enforcement requests. They have defended user privacy in court (one case cited). They have joined the Digital Due Process coalition (which gives them credit for lobbying Congress).

'Cause there's no privacy on twitter anyway (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year ago | (#43600825)

IIRC someone or some entity was storing all the tweets anyway. You have no privacy there to protect - it's explicitly public. It's almost like the EFF is trolling for the government in this case - put your private life out there in public so the government won't even have to ask anyone to violate your privacy to investigate you ;-)

Who Titles this crap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43601179)

You realize by putting Apple in the title (presumably to troll us, since it wasn't the two that were ranked the bottom) guarantees that no one will click the link?

The pro-apple people will dismiss it and go right to comments. The apple-haters never read these articles, just post crap that wasn't in the article (and get modded 5).

The uninterested parties skip them over.

And those driven completely insane try to talk sense . . . oh wait. Noooooo!

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