Apple calls for comprehensive US privacy laws

By Cameron Abbott and Jessica McIntosh

It’s uncomfortable to think one of the world’s biggest business leaders has this week stood up and told us all ”our own information from the everyday to the deeply personal is being weaponized against us with military efficiency” what’s more uncomfortable, these powerful words are only a small snippet of a seriously forceful and passionate speech Tim Cook delivered in Brussels on Wednesday.

Cook stated how Apple sees first hand just how often technology is harming rather than helping individuals, ‘platforms and algorithms that promise to improve our lives are actually magnifying our worst human tendencies’ – Cook effectively confirmed, the tech dark side is real, it’s not us being dramatic or something that is imagined, it’s here, it’s happening and everyday people are affected.

The result of this dire situation is that companies, like Apple can create a digital profile of us which allows them to understand (on an extreme level) us, better than we understand ourselves. Although, unsurprisingly Cook took the opportunity to promote how Apple protects user privacy, perhaps mindful of how their competitor Google takes a more active approach to data analytics.

Cook urged the US to enact a federal privacy law which would allow individuals:

  1. The right to have personal data de-identified.
  2. The right to have greater knowledge regarding their data being collected.
  3. The right to access their data and correct if necessary; and
  4. The right to more security.

Clearly Apple wishes to define its position on data privacy in the market as a competitive position. Siri may not understand you as well as Alexa, but without saying it directly, Cook wants you to know there is a reason for that.  If it drives a single coherent privacy law in the USA all the better we say.

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