The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published its 2014 “Who Has Your Back” report, in which it ranks companies based on how well they protect user privacy from government data requests. Following recent policy changes, Apple is now celebrated in the report and was awarded the highest accolade possible – six gold stars.

You can check on the report, “Who Has Your Back 2014: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests,” over at the EFF’s website. There, companies including Adobe, Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and, of course, Apple are graded across six separate areas.

These are:

  1. Requires a warrant for content.
  2. Tells users about government data requests
  3. Publishes transparency reports.
  4. Publishes law enforcement guidelines.
  5. Fights for users’ privacy rights in courts.
  6. Fights for users’ privacy rights in Congress.

Apple was awarded a gold star in each of the six categories, though Cupertino wasn’t the only company to be celebrated in this way; Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo! also won six stars from the EFF.

The progress made by Apple is remarkable, however, compared with its ranking in previous years. The EFF explains:

Apple earned credit in all 6 categories in this year’s Who Has Your Back report. Apple’s rating is particularly striking because it had lagged behind industry competitors in prior years, earning just one star in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Apple shows remarkable improvement in its commitments to transparency and privacy.

Most recently, Cupertino announced that it’s alerting customers when government requests are made for user data. A small number of exceptions aside, Apple – along with Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – is indeed now informing customers when their information is targeted for government seizure, in a move that was both celebrated and condemned by critics.

Apple’s progress in the EFF’s rankings.

News of the change came following reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) can intercept users’ iPhones through spyware (an allegation that Apple claimed was entirely untrue).

To read the EFF’s full 2014 report, click this link.

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