Data Broker Acxiom Comes Out in Support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's Call for US Data Privacy Regulation

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    One of the biggest ad data brokers has come out in support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's call for federal privacy legislation to regulate the collection and use of personal data in the United States.


    In a statement Thursday evening provided to Business Insider, data broker Acxiom confirmed its support for federal privacy legislation. "Acxiom, like Mr. Cook, also supports a national privacy law for the US, such as GDPR provides for the European Union," it read.

    A data broker acts as a middleman, transferring user data between different companies and parties. In his TIME op-ed yesterday, Cook called such an entity "a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer."

    In a message consistent with Apple's policy that privacy is a "fundamental human right," Cook railed against this market for user information, which he said operates in a "shadow economy" that's largely unchecked, "out of sight of consumers, regulators and lawmakers."

    Responding to Cook's clarion call, Acxiom said that it had been "actively participating in discussions with US lawmakers" for years but denied that it partook in a "shadow economy" that operates unchecked.
    In his TIME op-ed, Cook argued for the creation of a "data-broker clearinghouse" that all brokers would be required to register, which would enable consumers users to track transactions that include their data and delete it forever if desired.

    "As this debate kicks off, there will be plenty of proposals and competing interests for policymakers to consider," said Cook. "We cannot lose sight of the most important constituency: individuals trying to win back their right to privacy."

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Data Broker Acxiom Comes Out in Support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's Call for US Data Privacy Regulation
  2. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014

    Where "in support of" means "wanting to participate in writing the legislation in order to make it toothless".
  3. WatchFromAfar, Jan 18, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2019

    WatchFromAfar macrumors 65832


    Jan 26, 2017
    Well then Mr Tim Cook don't allow companies that use personal data on your platform. erm I'm sorry you want Google, you want Facebook. you want Twitter, etc etc
  4. Sasparilla macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2012
    Guessing Acxiom has calculated they and the rest of the surveillance economy's lobbyists will get to write the law if its created versus the few (just Apple?) lobbyist's that will be trying to convince lawmakers to protect citizens privacy. I believe Mr. Cook is right in all this - but I also believe the U.S. government has been absolutely corrupted at this point by its 50 year experiment with paid lobbying (which didn't start until the early 1970's).

    At this point unless its a huge social issue (this is starting to nudge into that sphere, but I'm guessing it isn't in that realm yet) - the business lobbyists literally write the laws in the House and Senate in Washington and pass them to the representatives to submit (with the Dems only being slightly less corrupt on this than the Republicans, based on past actions).
  5. MacBH928 macrumors 68030


    May 17, 2008
    Better than being regulated it should be banned...

    At the very least no company should store personal identifiable information (chat, personal emails, images, etc). Only anonymous general trend and statistic data should be collected/shared.
  6. ryanwarsaw macrumors 68020


    Apr 7, 2007
    Google by default for $9 billion...
  7. centauratlas, Jan 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019

    centauratlas macrumors 65816


    Jan 29, 2003
    A few suggestions for Apple to take the lead:
    1. Create a new email address (at or something else) for all new registrations to go along with the iCloud password manager that maps to your real one. This way there is no tying accounts together based on email addresses. Either make it a long, random one (like a bitcoin public key) or like gmail allows with "" although the later is easily decoded.
    2. Do on device (macOS, iOS) encryption for EVERYTHING that leaves the phone - iCloud backups etc.
    3. Support .bit domains out of the box.
    4. Support (in addition to VPNs) TOR out of the box.
    5. Support "Solid" out of the box and encourage more encryption and portability.
  8. john123 macrumors 68020


    Jul 20, 2001
    This sounds nice as a sound bite, but it's impractical, and more than that, it's a terrible idea. Way too many things depend on PII usage. Your life would also be much worse if this were to happen. People tend to focus on the bad and possible bad and miss the fact that in general, this stuff is actually pretty harmless and helps people get what they need a lot faster and easier.

    I think this is exactly right. It's also worth noting (from someone who has been using Acxiom data for a looooong time himself) that Acxiom's bread and butter isn't re-selling your micro data. In fact, if you want to pick on someone for that, pick on the thousands of companies that agree to engage in data sharing with Acxiom and other clearinghouses.

    And to be fair, we should pick on ourselves. Blindly reading a privacy policy and TOS and clicking "OK"—the onus falls on consumers. "It's long" is not a very compelling excuse.
  9. chucker23n1 macrumors 68020


    Dec 7, 2014
    If the vast majority of people is unwilling or unable to read lengthy policies and terms of service, maybe the problem isn't with those people.
  10. john123 macrumors 68020


    Jul 20, 2001
    Or maybe it is.

    I truly don't think the length is the deterrent. People are lazy. You reap what you sow.
  11. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    I believe each bullet point in a PP or TOS should be in bold that is a one sentence summary of the action. From there, detail each point.

    It would make things easier to read especially for the extra long policies.

    Several companies already do this or similar to it- like what this means is...
  12. john123 macrumors 68020


    Jul 20, 2001
    This is increasingly common in contract law overall.

    But it’s not going to help much. People clicking ok is almost muscle memory at this point. “It’s long and complex” is a post facto excuse.

    As evidence, ask most companies that changed their language to be more plain English, per GDPR. Generally speaking, user behavior didn’t change much in response to the T&C simplification itself.
  13. GrumpyMom, Jan 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019

    GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    I actually read all those damned things. I really do.

    It’s just that I don’t always understand all the creative ways all those policies will be stretched into uses by affiliates and partners in ways that are constantly evolving. Technology moves forward at a pace that exceeds society’s ability to properly manage its excesses.

    I willingly give up for tangible benefits some data now, because the existing social structures and existing technology dont at the time seem to indicate any harm will come of it.

    Look at how all of us who ever posted photos of ourselves on social media may find in the future that those photos are used against us in mass public surveillance of the type currently used and accepted in China.

    In only a couple of years the population of China has found itself facially mapped into an AI facial recognition system of massive scope. They once were led by a president restrained by term limits. Now they’ve got a dictator for life and their every move is scrutinized and controlled for the benefit of the state.

    For us it will be big business using data that seems innocent and useless today, but will feed into a system we can’t even imagine powered by technology that hasn’t been invented yet.

    Lol but I do find I am forever answering the same questions over and over to doctors and pediatricians because apparently nobody is keeping cohesive medical records. :rolleyes: Medical record keeping still seems mightily fragmented.
  14. john123 macrumors 68020


    Jul 20, 2001
    These are excellent thoughts all the way around.

    I too read the terms—but perhaps that’s because I sometimes have to write them myself.

    You’re right about future unforeseen usages. I simply tend not to worry about it too much. Some might call that naive, but really it’s more cynicism and apathy. I don’t care if a bunch of people know that I wear Calvin Klein boxer briefs. Heck, I don’t care if ex girlfriends know I occasionally look them up. I guess I don’t do anything online with the expectation that it’s fully private.

    Most data uses are relatively benign. The goal is to make money—and not to embarrass people, as that’s not a long-term profitable business model. I can live with all that, although I accept that that’s my personal choice and others may have very different preferences.
  15. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    Well put.

    Whenever an industry starts calling for regulation, you can bet the logic behind the scenes is they're doing it to protect their business practices via law (that they write themselves), rather than to put limitations on themselves.
  16. Defthand macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    It's curious that Cook has made this his cause. I wonder if something malicious happened to him personally.
  17. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    I don’t think so, Apple has been positioning itself for years now in a way that makes privacy a business differentiator, people are just now starting to put together the pieces of “why” as a clearer understanding of Big Data starts making its way to the population.
  18. weup togo, Jan 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019

    weup togo macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2016
    Regulatory capture. Acxiom is doing this as an anti-competitive move against the thousands of smaller businesses chasing their tails. There is still a ton of "innovation" in this revolting area of tech, and the entrenched players can afford the regulatory burden this will incur, while the little guys can't. Tim may get outmaneuvered here, not for the first time.
  19. CrystalQuest76, Jan 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019

    CrystalQuest76 Suspended

    Dec 14, 2015
    West Cost A Lot
    Apple is in the business of deriving their profits from primarily selling products. They make additional profits from selling services.
    Apple's competition sells products but don't necessarily cover all their expenses with their cut-throat prices. They make their profits from selling info about their customers. Cook will hurt Apple's competition if he can get one of their profit centers cut off.
    First and foremost Cook is a business and money man. We know that he is money focused because he is willing to go into business with countries that would imprison him because of his personal orientation. It may not be appropriate to mention it, but company executives in the past have chosen to refuse to do business in countries and states that have enforced laws that don't align with their personal values.
  20. Defthand macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    People are ignoring a real motivation for Apple's stance against data mining. Apple has been trying to win advertising dollars with its huge U.S. customer base. Remember iAds? It fed ads to apps that hoped a freemium business model would support them. In return, developers would earn a royalty for users click-throughs. Apple asked $1 million for an ad. It wasn't a good value for advertisers. Apple lowered the cost to $500K, then again to $100K. Its poor return on investment wasn't surprising. It was based on an antiquated advertising approach that lacked the laser-precision consumer targeting of today's data-driven web.

    Data-driven advertising is less annoying than the confetti of divergent ads that used to populate websites and were often irrelevant to the site's topic. Data-driven ads pair better with the sites and their audiences. However, that precision has reached an amazing level. In addition to domain-level ads, advertisers can place ads relevant to you regardless which sites you visit. Your ads follow you.

    If Apple is successful in undermining the data-driven business models of Google and others, smaller businesses will suffer the consequences. If smaller businesses had to revert to domain-targeted ads, their cost would rise while the effectiveness would drop. Currently, Google removes much of the uncertainty and risk of advertising to a less qualified audience.

    Furthermore, smaller businesses will lose a competitive opportunity. For example, if only large companies, like Apple itself, can afford to advertise their wares in multiple locations, smaller companies with appealing alternatives won't be as visible. The consumer loses if he's less informed.
  21. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    I have to laugh at the notion that the problem with ads is they’re not targeted enough and therefore annoying. Way to miss the forest from the trees.
  22. Defthand macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    In a perfect world, content and services would be paid for by those who enjoy them. Instead, it requires sponsors.

    If ads are an inescapable compromise, then it reasons that we should try to make them more useful. There’s plenty of testimonies from users who said the occasional “coincidental” ad helped them with a decision or purchase they were mulling.
  23. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    This paradigm only exists because of the commercialization of the Internet, this was the intention of that process.
  24. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I think the fact that Acxiom came out of the shadows to speak up about this is a sign that Cook has a chance to influence and change the status quo.
  25. MEJHarrison macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2009
    If those smaller companies are purchasing and using my personal information without my knowledge or consent, then I hope those consequences are brutal. I'm all for supporting small businesses, but not at the expense of giving up my privacy.

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