Conversations about life & privacy in the digital age

Santa’s Naughty or Nice Tech Companies 2012

On this day of December 25th, we hope those of you who received the magic of Santa are busy admiring and playing with your new gifts. Congrats for being such a good boy or girl. If you awoke to coal in your stockings, well, better luck next year! You probably didn’t need to accumulate more ‘stuff’ anyway.

As mentioned, Santa granted us permission to publish his list of the 5 naughty and 5 nice tech companies of the year. As it turns out, Santa shares our love of privacy which is why he and his elves only use SpiderOak. Wanting only the best for you, he kept his eye on those companies who seemingly cared about your data and those who didn’t. We asked you to submit who you thought made the lists and ho ho ho did you reply! Nearly 800 votes were cast. Thanks to all of you who participated in our little guessing game.

Here is who you thought made the naughty list:

A total of 61 companies were cited. Dropbox, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Skype, Amazon, Verizon, Canonical, Oracle, and AT&T were also mentioned numerous times.

Here are the companies you believed were on the nice list:

A total of 102 companies were mentioned including: Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Mozilla,, Evernote, Facebook, Silent Circle, Valve.

As you might imagine, Santa and his elves had a difficult time whittling down the list but in the end a list must be created. And with no further ado, the official results…

Santa’s Naughty Tech Companies of 2012

5. Verizon

Selling customer information such as geographical information, app usage and online activities lands Verizon on this list. Though customers can opt out of this type of monitoring, Santa believes Verizon should give its customers the choice to opt in.

4. Apple

From Siri to childrens apps, this tech company was far from being the apple of Santa’s eye this year.

3. Instagram

The end-of-the-year TOS revision in order to sell off user photos without compensation (and then immediately rethinking its decision) made Instagram a naughty naughty winner and recipient of a class action lawsuit.

2. Google

Ever on the hot seat for improper data collection and sharing, possible misuse of search results, page rank manipulation, and more, Google does not share the same passion for privacy as Santa.

1. Facebook

Where does Santa begin? Facebook’s latest decision to sell access to your inbox? Bottom line, you and your data generate a lot of revenue for the social network. Santa wants and needs to keep his information private so don’t ever expect to be ‘friends’ with him.

Santa’s Nice Tech Companies of 2012

5. SpiderOak

What did Santa want for Christmas? Zero-Knowledge! (Plus – many of you had mentioned us and we greatly enjoy giving away free GBs.)

4. Silent Circle

Santa recommends this new service for voice, video and text-message communication. Brought to you by the developer of Pretty Good Privacy”. SpiderOak is a big fan too!

3. Mozilla

A big supporter of Do Not Track, Santa was proud of the leadership role Mozilla took on user privacy.

2. Twitter

Although they teetered on that naughty / nice line, Santa ultimately decided ‘nice’ after following Mozilla’s lead for enabling Do Not Track.

1. DuckDuckGo

If Santa’s searches were able to be tracked then what surprises would await all those little boys and girls Christmas morning? As such, he needed to find an alternative to Google. DuckDuckGo doesn’t use cookies, doesn’t save personally identifiable information (not even your IP address), and doesn’t use targeted ads – making this company Santa’s personal favorite.

If you matched any of the companies on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list, you will receive 2 free GBs of storage. If you matched all 10, you’ll receive 30 free GBs. Expect the additional storage to hit your accounts very soon.

Again, thanks for joining our holiday fun and from all of us as SpiderOak,

Merry Christmas!


  1. Linzi at SpiderOak says:

    If you entered the contest, you will receive an email this week confirming the number of matches and GBs added to your account.

  2. PCR says:

    I can't believe so many people put Google on the nice list… and that Twitter is indeed in the nice list, particularly when it's thanks to Do Not Track, which as you yourself explained is useless. I also did think about Instagram, but since Instagram _is_ Facebook now I didn't put it on my list.
    Well, that should still make me around 8 GB, pretty nice Xmas gift :)

  3. merge says:

    I almost added mozilla, but it isn't a company, so I didn't. Thanks for the fun, free GBs and your service! Merry christmas!

  4. B says:

    Mozilla is a company. See:

    Non-profit foundation, but very much a company.

  5. Larry says:

    I knew I should have put Apple and Google on the naughty list! :p is another good search site. 800 contest emails is pretty impressive. Quite a few people must read SpiderOak's blog. Thanks for the fun contest and free GBs!

  6. Lobo says:

    Thx for another 4 GB!

    The contest was great fun :D

  7. Bill says:

    That was a fun contest for Xmas, many thanks for the 10GB.
    Happy New Year to all!