We live digital lives—from the videos shared on social networks, to location-aware apps on mobile phones, to log-in data for connecting to our email, to our stored documents, to our search history. The personal, the profound, and even the absurd are all transcribed into data packets, whizzing through the fiber-optic arteries of the network.
While our daily lives have upgraded to the 21st century, the law hasn’t kept pace. To date, the U.S. Congress hasn’t managed to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to acknowledge that email stored more than 6 months deserves identical protections to email stored less than 6 months. Congress also dragged its feet on halting the NSA’s indiscriminate surveillance of online communications and has yet to enact the strong reforms we deserve. Congress is even on the precipice of making things far worse, considering proposals that would mandate government backdoors into the technology we rely on to digitally communicate.
In this climate, we increasingly look to technology companies themselves to have the strongest possible policies when it comes to protecting user rights. Which companies will stand by users, insisting on transparency and strong legal standards around government access to user data? And which companies make those policies public, letting the world—and their own users—judge their stances on standing up for privacy rights?
Read the entire 2015 Who Has Your Back? report.