Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (R3D) has released a report that compares Mexican ISPs’ transparency and privacy practices. The work parallels the Karisma Foundation’s report about Columbian ISPs’ transparency and privacy practices; both the Mexican and Columbian organizations’ reports are based on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “Who Has Your Back” reporting format. The format is designed to visually summarize the practices taken by Internet companies so that end-users can easily evaluate how companies protect their users.
This post briefly summarizes R3D’s findings and then proceeds to discuss whether Mexican companies’ transparency report genuinely enable corporate accountability. Based on academic literatures, a strong argument can be made that the aggregated Mexican transparency report that have been issued by the Mexican telecommunications companies does not make the companies particularly accountable to their customers. The post concludes by raising questions about the status of third-party comparisons of corporate privacy and transparency practices: why are intermediaries like R3D, Karisma Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, or IX Maps so important? And what are the deficits of contemporary comparisons of corporate transparency and privacy practices?
Summary of R3D Findings
RD3’s report examines privacy policies and codes of practices from the eight Mexican telecommunications companies that, in aggregate, compose 98% of Mexico’s mobile, fixed line, and broadband markets. Out of a possible six ‘stars’ only one company (Movistar) received two stars (the most of any company); half for requiring a warrant for data requests, half for publishing a transparency report, and a full star for advocating for privacy. The worst company, Megacable, received just a half-star for requiring a warrant for data requests.
Companies could receive either a full star, half-star, quarter-star or no star in each of the categories that are noted in Figure One. The evaluation criteria for receiving these grades follows the figure.