Who Has Your Back in Colombia? Our Third-Annual Report Shows Progress
Fundación Karisma in cooperation with EFF has released its third-annual ¿Dónde Estan Mis Datos? report, the Colombian version of EFF’s Who Has Your Back. And this year’s report has some good news.
According to the Colombian Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, broadband Internet penetration in Colombia is well over 50% and growing fast. Like users around the world, Colombians put their most private data, including their online relationships, political, artistic and personal discussions, and even their minute-by-minute movements online. And all of that data necessarily has to go through one of a handful of ISPs. But without transparency from those ISPs, how can Colombians trust that their data is being treated with respect?
This project is part of a series across Latin America, adapted from EFF’s annual Who Has Your Back? report. The reports are intended to evaluate mobile and fixed ISPs to see which stand with their users when responding to government requests for personal information. While there’s definitely room for improvement, the third edition of the Colombian report shows substantial improvement.
The full report is available only in Spanish from Fundación Karisma, but here are some highlights.
This third-annual report goes even further in evaluating companies than ever before. The 2017 edition doesn’t just look at ISPs data practices; it evaluates whether companies have corporate policies of gender equality and accessibility, whether they publicly report data breaches, and whether they’ve adopted HTTPS to protect their users and employees. By and large, the companies didn’t do very well at the new criteria, but that’s part of the point. Reports like this help push the companies to do better.
That’s especially clear by looking at the criteria evaluated in previous years. There’s been significant improvement.
New for 2017, a Colombian ISP, known as ETB, has released the country’s first transparency report. This type of report, which lists the number and type of legal demands for data from government and law enforcement, is essential to helping users understand the scope of Internet surveillance and make informed decisions about storing their sensitive data or engaging in private communications. We’ve long urged companies to release these reports regularly, and we’re happy to see a Colombian ISP join in.
In addition, this year’s report shows that more companies than ever are releasing public information about their data protection policies and their related corporate policies. We applaud this transparency, especially when their policies go further than the law requires as is the case with both Telefonica and ETB.
Finally, more companies than ever are taking the proactive step of notifying their users of data demands, even when they are not formally required to do so. This commitment is important because it gives users a chance to defend themselves against overreaching government requests. In most situations, a user is in a better position than a company to challenge a government request for personal information, and of course, the user has more incentive to do so.
We’re proud to have worked with Fundación Karisma to push for transparency and users’ rights in Colombia and look forward to seeing further improvement in years to come.