The EFF this week released their latest privacy report card, which grades companies on how well they help protect your data from government over-reach. The full report
(pdf) explores which companies require a warrant to access content, inform users about government data requests, publishes transparent government interaction guidelines and fights for user privacy in the courts and Congress.
Independent California ISP Sonic.net once again gets a full six stars from the EFF for their privacy practices. That's not too surprising given CEO Dan Jasper's publicly posted positions
on some of the sleazy behavior that ISPs engage in when it comes to user data (like clickstream sales
Jasper has played a big role in fighting ISP data retention laws
, arguing that they simply create a juicy new security target for hackers and will be abused. His company also recently fought a secret court order to obtain data on Wikileaks supporter Jacob Appelbaum
That's in quite a sharp contrast to the other, larger ISPs on the list. Comcast received just two stars, AT&T received one star, and Verizon received no stars. "We remain disappointed by the overall poor showing of ISPs
like AT&T and Verizon in our best practice categories," said the EFF, in commentary that mirrors their reports from the last two years.
That AT&T received any stars at all is rather surprising. Like Verizon, AT&T throws all voice and data into the lap of the NSA
, helped advice the FBI on the best way to break the law
, and most recently lobbied Congress to pass CISPA
because it would have given them carte blanche to take consumer privacy violations even further.
It's unlikely these companies care much about receiving a scolding from the EFF, given that consumer consciousness surrounding privacy issues is fleeting at best, and regulator action on this front consists of puny fines and press releases. Everyone else, from investors to Silicon Valley, love the ocean of new potential revenue generated by tracking location data (something the company's won't even talk about
), and would obviously prefer government stay out of their way.