For your eyes only, Amnesty’s report on privacy protection in instant messaging

Amnesty ranked 11 technology companies according to how well they protect our privacy when instant messaging. What the report, For your eyes only, reveals.

For your eyes only is human rights organisation Amnesty International’s latest report on the right to online privacy. It ranks 11 tech companies according to their security standards for instant messaging services. Three out of these don’t deploy end-to-end encryption as a default setting on messaging services according to the international organisation, putting users at risk of privacy violations at the hands of cybercriminals, malicious hackers and unlawful interception by state authorities.

Many of us use the instant messaging services ranked in the report For your eyes only © Amnesty International

What end-to-end encryption means

Introducing end-to-end encryption is the minimum solution for protecting users’ online privacy according to Amnesty. It is a system where only the sender and recipient of the communication can read message contents. Nobody in between, not even the Internet service provider, application service provider or hacker, can read or tamper with it.

Lack of end-to-end encryption also implies huge potential risk of arrest and detention for human rights defenders, activists and journalists living in repressive countries with limited freedom of expression as it makes them vulnerable to having their conversations hacked. Amnesty International has asked all major technology companies to be more transparent about their policies and tools to preserve the right to privacy and freedom of expression online.

for your eyes only
According to Amnesty International’s report For your eyes only, Snapchat ranks 9th out of 11 tech companies for privacy protection of instant messaging services © Carl Court/Getty Images

Best and worst company performances

Among the best performances there are those of Facebook and Apple, whereas at the lowest places there are companies such as Blackberry, Snapchat and Tencent, who according to Amnesty’s report aren’t applying an adequate level of encryption of instant messages.

The NGO ranked each company giving them a score of 1 to 100, evaluating five main criteria:

  • Does the company recognise online threats to freedom of expression and right to privacy as risks to its users through its policies and procedures?
  • Does the company apply end-to-end encryption as a default?
  • Does the company make users aware of threats to their privacy and freedom of expression and how the company is responding through the use of encryption?
  • Does the company disclose details of government requests for user data, and how it responds?
  • Does the company publish technical details of its system of encryption?

This ranking doesn’t take into consideration companies’ overall commitment to human rights or the level of privacy protection for other services apart from instant messaging.

For your eyes only, the ranking

Il carbone nel mondo

Totale delle emissioni di CO2 emesse ogni anno dalla combustione del carbone14,8 miliardi di tonnellate, il 46% del totale globale (fonte: Wwf)
Vittime causate dagli incidenti legati all'estrazione del carbone negli Stati Uniti77 ogni settimana (fonte: Health and Environment Alliance)
Vittime causate dalle malattie legate all'utilizzo del carbone come combustibile, in Europa e negli Stati Uniti450.654 ogni anno (fonte: Health and Environment Alliance)
Vittime causate dalle malattie legate all'utilizzo del carbone come combustibile in Cina300.000 (fonte: Health and Environment Alliance)

For all the information on the ranking you can read the full Amnesty International report For your eyes only by clicking here.

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