Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an article for Time Magazine, Wednesday, in support of digital privacy and control through regulation.
In the article titled, “You Deserve Privacy Online. Here’s How You Could Actually Get It,” Cook declared, “We all deserve control over our digital lives. That’s why we must rein in the data brokers.”
“In 2019, it’s time to stand up for the right to privacy—yours, mine, all of ours. Consumers shouldn’t have to tolerate another year of companies irresponsibly amassing huge user profiles, data breaches that seem out of control and the vanishing ability to control our own digital lives,” the Apple CEO proclaimed. “This problem is solvable—it isn’t too big, too challenging or too late. Innovation, breakthrough ideas and great features can go hand in hand with user privacy—and they must. Realizing technology’s potential depends on it.”
Cook then called on Congress to “pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation—a landmark package of reforms that protect and empower the consumer,” which would give consumers “the right to have personal data minimized,” the right to “know what data is being collected and why,” the right to “access, correct and delete your personal data,” and “the right to data security.”
“One of the biggest challenges in protecting privacy is that many of the violations are invisible. For example, you might have bought a product from an online retailer—something most of us have done,” Cook explained. “But what the retailer doesn’t tell you is that it then turned around and sold or transferred information about your purchase to a ‘data broker’—a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer. The trail disappears before you even know there is a trail.”
“Let’s be clear: you never signed up for that,” he concluded.
At an October privacy conference in Brussels, Cook called out the “data industrial complex,” declaring, “Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency. These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold.”
“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance,” Cook proclaimed.