Tim Cook Urges U.S. Congress to Pass Comprehensive Federal Privacy Legislation in Op-Ed

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday introduced the American Data Dissemination Act, legislation that would require the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to submit detailed recommendations for privacy requirements that Congress can impose on tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter.


    The bill is intended to address the lack of a single, comprehensive federal law regulating the collection and use of personal data in the United States with clear protections that consumers can understand and the FTC can enforce.

    Well timed with the news, Apple CEO Tim Cook has penned an op-ed for Time Magazine calling on Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation in the United States. He also challenges companies to strip identifying information from customer data or avoid collecting it in the first place.

    In the op-ed, Cook said he believes "data broker" companies that collect, package, and sell personal information should be required to register with the FTC and provide critical transparency information to the agency, and that consumers should have the power to easily access and delete that data if desired.

    "Right now, all of these secondary markets for your information exist in a shadow economy that's largely ­unchecked," wrote Cook.

    In 2014, the FTC published a report stating that "data brokers collect and store a vast amount of data on almost every U.S. household." Of the nine data brokers it examined, the FTC said one had a database with "information on 1.4 billion consumer transactions and over 700 billion aggregated data elements."

    Cook's full op-ed was provided to MacRumors in advance:
    Cook's op-ed is consistent with Apple's belief that privacy is a "fundamental human right." Apple aims to "minimize its collection of personal data," according to its privacy website, and stresses that the "the customer is not our product."

    Apple emphasized its commitment to privacy with a billboard near CES 2019 that read "what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone."

    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: Tim Cook Urges U.S. Congress to Pass Comprehensive Federal Privacy Legislation in Op-Ed
  2. nikaru macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2009
    The example given by Tim in his letter is dead wrong. If a retailer transfers your purchase information to a third party and such information does not contain personal information that can be linked to you, it is not personal information at all. The data collected by a retailer about his sales and numbers for example, is also personal information of the retailer. I really dont care if a retailer sells the information that I purchased a specific product as long as this information does not contain my name, credit card number and address. It is raw statistic information which is no way personal in nature.
  3. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    Hell of a business move. Good for consumers and good for Apple. Any CEO in his position would be taking the same stance.
  4. Digital Dude, Jan 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019

    Digital Dude macrumors 6502

    Digital Dude

    Oct 12, 2008
    Arizona where freedom still means something
    To my pleasant surprise, this is the first time that I like anything that Tim Cook has ever done. Unfortunately, the aptitude level of people in Congress is so remarkably low; it's unlikely they will understand it, much less do anything about it.
  5. TheShadowKnows! macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2014
    National Capital Region
    Blah, blah, blah ... posturing

    Easy to promote, Cook, when you monetize hardware. [And, only when Apple services are nascent proportionally to hardware revenues.]

    The solution to privacy is libertarian, and remains with the individual:
    1. do not participate on any social network -- facebook, tweeter, et al
    2. do not login with a single identifier
    3. do not register with mobile apps
    4. ...
    Just say no.
  6. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    I don’t disagree with Cook but how much is it going to cost consumers? The reason most of this data collection happens is because people want services like Facebook but don’t want to pay money for them. And what happens to Apple as it becomes more of a services company and is less reliant on making money from hardware sales? Can Apple compete with Google, Netflix and others without data collection? Also, of course Big Tech is going to push for regulations because they can afford to comply. In the end does it just stiffle new entrants who can’t afford to comply with the heavy regulations? Is the end result that companies like Facebook and Google become even more powerful?
  7. Horselover Fat macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2012
    And while you're at it, enforce the right to repair.
  8. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    So we can’t have services like you mention AND privacy? Doesn’t seem like a better solution to me.
  9. Morgenland macrumors 6502


    May 28, 2009
    Everyone here, who usually spits on Tim, should keep his/her mouth closed. At least this time.
  10. cardfan macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2012
    Let’s worry about building the wall instead. Make it taller and that should help with privacy too. Win win
  11. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Not without consumers paying money for them.
  12. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    I don’t completely agree. The money has to come from somewhere, yes, but you can still generate revenue and protect the users’ privacy at the same time. Apple is a good example of that.
  13. Gorms macrumors 6502


    Aug 30, 2012
    Sorry dude, turns out people are stupid and need rules in place to protect them from themselves. Even when it seems obvious to superior humans like yourself.

    Here is a real world example: a wet floor must have a sign next to it to warn others that it's a trip hazard. By your logic, the solution is individual vigilance. Whilst that might protect some people, most people aren't on guard, or have an awareness, all the time, so we as a society put rules in place to help protect others for the benefit of all. Plus if we don't have those rules, some people will find ways to take advantage of the lack of rules, some might create trip hazards for a laugh for example, especially if they could monetise videos of people tripping over. We need to protect people from things like that and more.

    You see how that works?
  14. ThunderSkunk, Jan 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019

    ThunderSkunk macrumors 68030


    Dec 31, 2007
    Milwaukee Area
    Probably want to wait until the next administration to get anywhere with that.
    On second thought, this is one of those things where it doesn’t matter which admin at this point. Neither of the US’s 2 political choices have an interest in the issue, nor even learning anything about it, and their track records are both terrible. Tim might as well get out the axe and start swinging, I guess.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 17, 2019 ---
    Yes, how high does the Boeing 787 fly? Building a wall that tall would cause some worrying.
  15. entropys macrumors 6502


    Jan 5, 2007
    Brisbane, Australia
    It is pretty hard to listen to this posturing ninny about anything when imacs have generation old processors and price as if new. How about focusing on product development Mr Cook?
  16. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    It's is only good for the Apple (and other businesses) if consumers reward them for taking this position by not buying the competitor that doesn't care about privacy. The problem is that most people put little value in their personal information, particularly when they get services for free by giving it up.

    When people don't care, then it's another excuse for the government to not care. Apple needs to up it's game with regard to educating people about privacy.
  17. StevieD100 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2014
    Living Dangerously in Retirement
    That so called anonyomised data has been shown several times to be tracked to a user because of matches with other data collected from other sources such as Mall CCTV systems. They see you go into a store and emerge later with a bag identifying items from that store. Then the facial recognition, RFID/card ship scanners and other systems can match to to a specific purchase.
    Lots of little bits of data can be used to make up a pretty goos image of you, who you are, how much you earn and all the rest.

    Finally, some of those anonyomised data sets have not been very well anonyomised. They have been reverse engineered.
  18. partsofspeech macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2018
    TC is in the mode of human-behavior-determination, again.
  19. Scottsoapbox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2014
    It's just sad the number of massive data breaches of personal data that had to occur before the average person even realized this was an issue. And in democracy, you need a large number of average, largely uninformed, people to care before anything can happen.
  20. centauratlas macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2003
    While legislation is fine, Tim and Apple need to step up and encrypt everything with on device keys and then they can obviate some of the need for it.

    Make each device its own walled garden and give everyone the power to control what is shared and with whom.

    Create new me.com addresses for every login like gmail allows, it do it automatically so no shared addresses or passwords. Then automatically map them to your regular address.
  21. Ishayu macrumors regular


    Jan 18, 2012
    All I can say is: Good!

    Now I will point out that privacy is worth a lot to me, which is pretty much the only reason I am buying Apple products at their current pricing, so I hope Mr. Cook has a plan to resolve that issue as it arises.

    For now I am just very happy that someone with power is willing to fight this fight. It needs to be faught. Importantly, it needs to be faught better than it was faught in Europe, which just put cookie warnings everywhere, which is ridiculous and annoying.
  22. DoctorTech macrumors 6502


    Jan 6, 2014
    Indianapolis, IN
    As a Libertarian, you forgot to mention 3 other ways of individuals can protect their privacy...

    1) If you don't want companies like Digital Recognition Network (https://drndata.com) using their vast network of privately owned, automated license plate reader equipped vehicles to create a database of where and when you travel and where you park your car at night, just don't own a car.

    2) If you don't want private companies creating a database of when and where you go based on the signals given off by the cell phone in your pocket, don't carry your cell phone when you leave your house. https://lifehacker.com/how-retail-stores-track-you-using-your-smartphone-and-827512308

    3) If you don't a network of private companies maintaining a database of your movements via facial recognition, don't leave your house. https://www.aclu.org/blog/privacy-t...ogies/are-stores-you-shop-secretly-using-face

    I have strong libertarian leanings. The Libertarian Party used to say the purpose of government is "to protect citizens from force and fraud". I think much of what Tim Cook is talking about falls into the realm of "fraud" (and the necessary infrastructure to protect us from companies that would steal our privacy without our knowledge). If someone takes my car, I know it. However, someone can take all types of personal information about me and I might not ever know about it. I rarely look to government for solutions to problems but this is a case where I am 100% with Tim Cook that there is a legitimate role for government to play in this issue.

    With that said, I still have very little hope that Congress will do anything meaningful. As the old saying about Congress goes, "If you think our problems are bad, just wait until you see our solutions."
  23. barmann macrumors 6502a

    Oct 25, 2010
    From the Apple privacy website :

    So Apple does collect data . Not shocking, let's just keep that in mind .

    Just how scrambled is that data they actually use, and how general is that pattern ?

    I recall an interview where Cook stated a user's name , address, phone number, email aren't shared ( used ? ) by Apple . That's nice of them . How about everything else, gender, age, locations, nationality , etc etc ... ?

    What I really want to know - does Apple monetize any user data in any way ?
    ... Just kidding, of course they do .

    What Cook is proposing here is what law makers in several countries - mainly the EU - have been working on for years, some of it has already been made into law, and Cook is once again trying to avoid getting zuckerberged .
  24. RickInHouston macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2014

    This is the year of privacy for apple. This is really the only thing that differentiates apple from everyone else. Apple will hit it HARD this year.
  25. Ishayu macrumors regular


    Jan 18, 2012
    I agree with DoctorTech. I also have libertarian leanings, and in my humblest opinion, private information is potentially compromising personal data owned by you. For others to take it without asking your written consent under contract is an invasion of privacy and sharing it is disclosure without consent, which is, and should be, highly illegal.

    To then hide it behind a colossal, unreadable terms of use, which is impossible for the end user to understand, does not improve the situation. That is simply an attempt to obfuscate contractual agreements, and is also a crime. The user still doesn't know what's happening.

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