The 2017 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index evaluates 22 of the world’s most powerful telecommunications, internet, and mobile companies on their public commitments and disclosed policies affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy.

Internet and Mobile
Company Headquarters

Key findings

  • Company disclosure is inadequate across the board. Most of the world’s internet users lack the information they need to make informed choices.
  • Mobile ecosystems have the least amount of disclosure. We don’t know enough about the impact of smartphones on our digital rights.
  • Freedom of expression is getting short-changed. Most companies disclosed less about policies affecting freedom of expression than privacy.
  • Handling of user information is opaque. How and why is our information collected, shared, retained, and used? They don’t tell us enough.
  • Security commitments lack evidence. Trust will be elusive unless companies share credible information about security.

The 2017 Index ranks 22 companies on 35 indicators across three categories. The indicators measure if and how well companies disclose policies affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy. The Index evaluates policies of the parent company, operating company, and those of selected services (depending on company structure).

Read more about the methodology, research process, and how we score each company.

2017 Company ranking

How do the companies compare?

How did the services compare?

The Index evaluates select services offered by each company. Here’s how they stack up. To see each service’s performance go to the services page.

Key Stories

In addition to our main findings, here are some key stories that emerged from the 2017 Index data.

Mobile Ecosystems

The 2017 Index added three mobile ecosystems to this year’s ranking: Apple iOS, Google Android, and Samsung’s implementation of Android. Our analysis shows that all three failed to sufficiently disclose policies affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy. Read more.

Network Shutdowns

Network shutdowns are a growing threat to human rights around the world. But all telecommunication companies failed to provide sufficient disclosure of their policies for responding to requests by governments to shut down their networks. Read more.

Russian Companies

Russian internet companies operate in an increasingly restrictive environment, but our data shows there is room for companies to disclose more about policies affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy. Read more about how Russian internet companies Mail.Ru and Yandex compared.

Chinese Companies

Chinese internet company Tencent disclosed more information about its policies affecting users’ rights than Baidu—and both disclosed more about policies affecting users’ privacy than those affecting freedom of expression. Read more about how these two Chinese internet companies compared.