WhatsApp Dead Last in EFF Privacy Report

If you are concerned about data security, you might want to delete WhatsApp from your smartphone, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The popular messaging app came in dead last among the 24 tech companies EFF rated in its fifth annual EUWho Has Your BackEU report on service providersEU privacy and transparency practices.

The companies were graded on a scale of zero to five stars, with each star representing the companyEUs compliance with each of five different criteria, including following industry best practices, informing users about government data demands, disclosing policies on data retention, disclosing government content removal requests, and opposing government-mandated backdoor access. Companies that do not host content, such as messaging apps, were rated out of four stars, since content removal requests do not apply.

What Is Up with WhatsApp?

This was WhatsAppEUs first year to be included in EFFEUs evaluation, although the organization was informed a year ago that it would be included this year. Nevertheless, the company has apparently done nothing to comply with industry standard privacy and data security practices. WhatsApp received only one star, and even that was awarded only due to the stance its parent company, Facebook, has taken against government backdoors, according to the EFF.

WhatsApp had plenty of company at the bottom of the list. Internet service providers AT&T and Verizon scored only slightly better, with both continuing to lag behind common industry standards. The EFF said large telecom companies frequently find themselves behind the times with regard to other tech companies, although Comcast was awarded an impressive three out of four stars, failing only to alert users of government data demands.

But the news is not all bad for Verizon and AT&T. The EFF acknowledged that Verizon, now in its fifth year on the report, has adopted some of the...

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