Over the past few years, Apple has been perched atop the list of the 20 most trusted companies for privacy. The list, published annually by the Ponemon Institute (link to PDF), is based on a survey in which participants are asked to name companies that they feel can protect the privacy of their personal information. This year, Apple is out of the top 20 in the 2012 Most Trusted Companies list.
It's not too far down, ranked at No. 21, but the company is quite a distance from the No. 8 ranking it achieved in 2009. In 2011, Apple was ranked in the 14th spot; now it is below Mozilla (makers of the Firefox browser) and sharing ground with Google and Facebook.
So what companies made it to the top of the tree? The most trusted companies were American Express, HP, Amazon, IBM, and the US Postal Service.
Apple has made some moves to improve user privacy. Apple Insider notes that Apple updated iOS last year to require user permission when apps tap into contact information. This happened in the wake of an incident in which the Path social networking app was found to be uploading address book data to its servers without permission.