Tech giants aren't that good at protecting user privacy

Sixteen of the biggest tech companies out there, eight internet firms and eight telecoms, were analysed in terms of how much they allow their users to express themselves, and how much they protect their users' privacy.

None passed the analysis with flying colours.

The study, first of its kind from a new outfit, is titled the 2015 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index, and assesses the companies on 31 points and judges in terms of modern day privacy conventions. The points include questions on whether firms have an overseer for privacy practices.

Google came out on top, a result which surprised nobody, scoring 65 per cent. Just six companies scored at least 50 per cent, and the worst performers were Russian mail provider Mail.ru and UAE-based service provider Etisalat.

Over half the companies scored under 25 percent, showing a "serious deficit of respect for users' freedom of expression and privacy".

"The 2015 Index shines a needed spotlight on corporate practices around freedom of expression and privacy. We found that many of the world's most powerful internet and telecoms companies fail to disclose key information about practices affecting users' rights," said Rebecca MacKinnon, director of the Ranking Digital Rights project.

"Even the companies that ranked highest are missing the mark in some ways, and improvements are needed across the board to demonstrate a greater commitment to users' freedom of expression and privacy."

"When we put the rankings in perspective, it's clear there are no winners. Our hope is that the Index will lead to greater corporate transparency, which can empower users to make more informed decisions about how they use technology," said MacKinnon.