Snapchat Comes In Dead Last On EFF's Privacy Protecting List; Just Days After Getting Spanked By FTC

from the what-privacy dept

Snapchat is often pitched as a more “private” alternative to other messaging apps, considering that a key part of its pitch is that the messages/images you send to others quickly disappear. For years, people have pointed out that Snapchat was overstating the reality when making those claims, and last week the FTC spanked the company for misleading its users about the privacy and security of their messages. And, this week, the “privacy” claims of Snapchat get another black eye as the EFF’s latest Who Has Your Back? chart has come out, detailing how various services deal with protecting your privacy from the US government. Want to know who came in dead last? Snapchat:

Just a couple weeks ago, we had noted that a bunch of tech companies had been improving their policies in an attempt to score better on this annual report from the EFF. And, indeed, as you look down the full list, you see a lot more stars than when EFF started this list. Back then, lots of companies only got one star (or less!), though the categories weren’t exactly the same (EFF has added a few over the years).

Want to know just how bad Snapchat is? Even AT&T and Comcast score better. Snapchat was the only company with one star. Amazon and AT&T only got two. Comcast (along with Foursquare and Myspace) had three. At the top of the list, Apple, CREDO Mobile, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic.net, Twitter and Yahoo all got five stars. Some might question some of this, given stories of things like Microsoft changing Skype to grant greater government access, but on the specific categories that EFF judges for the ratings, they appear to be accurate.

Of course, to be fair, one of the categories is whether or not the company “fights for users’ privacy rights in courts.” That’s an important measure, but it’s also a conditional one. All of the other categories can be done by any company of their own volition, but you can’t fight in court if there are no opportunities to go to court to protect your users’ privacy. Either way, it’s good to see that the EFF chart is having an impact in getting companies to be more aggressive in protecting the privacy of their users from the government. But, really, shame on Snapchat for positioning itself as a privacy option when it appears to do very little to actually protect people’s privacy.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: eff, snapchat

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Snapchat Comes In Dead Last On EFF's Privacy Protecting List; Just Days After Getting Spanked By FTC”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
8 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“Snapchat is often pitched as a more “private” alternative to other messaging apps, considering that a key part of its pitch is that the messages/images you send to others quickly disappear.”

Note #1: the “disappearing” part is easy to override.

Note #2: Note #1 is not exactly a secret.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Of course, to be fair, one of the categories is whether or not the company “fights for users’ privacy rights in courts.” That’s an important measure, but it’s also a conditional one. All of the other categories can be done by any company of their own volition, but you can’t fight in court if there are no opportunities to go to court to protect your users’ privacy.

A simple fix for this is to count “filing amicus briefs on behalf of users seeking privacy” in that category. Some companies (such as Google) have been known to weigh in with amicus briefs on cases they aren’t directly involved in; for that matter, so has the EFF itself.

G Thompson (profile) says:

So I gather that this table is based on ONLY US Governmental requests and not on other civil (and criminal) requests then.

Otherwise How the bleeding hell did Microsoft recieve a gold star on “Requires a warrant for content”.

Oh I get it.. they never asked “Requires a warrant for content IT THINKS it owns itself”

Maybe instead of just targeting Governmental kowtowing next time the EFF should target ALL privacy kowtowing.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Pay off the EFF, Mr. Snapchat

You’re simply wrong. The EFF has a history of being very critical of Google when it comes to serious things, so why would they go easy on Google with this relatively minor one? Google is not one of their major donors as near as I can tell, but they might be. Regardless, it doesn’t stop the EFF from calling Google on their bullshit.

(Are you confusing the court-ordered one-time $1 million dollar payment to EFF with a “donation”?)

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Coward Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...