Apple CEO Tim Cook advocated for an increase in privacy regulations in the U.S., including requiring the Federal Trade Commission to allow individuals to track -- and delete -- their own personal data.
“We believe the Federal Trade Commission should establish a data-broker clearinghouse, requiring all data brokers to register, enabling consumers to track the transactions that have bundled and sold their data from place to place, and giving users the power to delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all,” Cook wrote in an op-ed he penned for Time magazine.
He also called on Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation, a package of reforms that he said should “protect and empower” the consumer by including four principles.
That includes the right to have personal data minimized (companies should try to strip identifying information from customer data); the right to knowledge -- like knowing what type of your data is being collected, and why; the right to access; and the right to data security.
“One of the biggest challenges in protecting privacy is that many of the violations are invisible,” Cook said, adding, “The trail disappears before you even know there is a trail. Right now, all of these secondary markets for your information exist in a shadow economy that’s largely unchecked—out of sight of consumers, regulators and lawmakers.”
Although he said some states are investigating passing laws that would protect consumers’ privacy, he urged the federal government to take a stance to what he called a solvable problem.
It’s not the first time that Cook has pushed for stricter regulation surrounding personal data. In October, while speaking at a conference in Brussels on data privacy, he lauded countries such as those in the European Union for implementing stricter privacy regulation throughout recent years, but criticized the U.S. for not doing enough. (The E.U. has a law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, that gives individuals control over their own personal data).
“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance,” he said at the time. “This should make us very uncomfortable. It should unsettle us.”