Apple CEO demands federal privacy law

Apple previously refused government requests for unlocking its phones

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter to Congress asking them to pass federal privacy legislation. App developers would be prohibited from sharing user data without their consent. Targeted advertising would be banned. Apple seems to have a better chance than other companies of complying with this law.

Cook visited Capitol Hill to meet with legislators on Thursday. On Friday, Cook sent a note to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House Commerce and Senate Commerce Committees. Three of these committees have worked together on the draft of a privacy bill that was released earlier in the month.

“At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right,”Cook wrote. “It is why we have consistently advocated for comprehensive privacy legislation and contributed to the process whenever possible.”

Cook boasted about his own company’s minimal data collection, but wrote that “only Congress can provide strong privacy protections for all Americans. The continued absence of this important legislation will unfortunately perpetuate a patchwork approach to privacy rights that leaves too many without the rigorous standards we hope to see.”

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Individual states can set their own privacy laws in the absence of any federal legislation. Only five states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah and Virginia – have passed laws granting people the right to access and delete personal information and to opt out of the sale of this personal information, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

As it is currently written, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act requires tech firms not to gather any data not required by law. “necessary,”These companies would be required to request users to consent to sharing their data with advertisers or market researchers. The rights of consumers to see and erase data kept by tech companies and to target advertising to minors to be exercised would also apply to these firms. “expressly prohibited.”

According to Mashable’s Saturday article, Apple could give itself an advantage by encouraging the passage of such legislation. According to the tech website, other companies would take longer to comply with any regulation. Apple also claimed that it has made a lot of money by marketing itself as being more privacy conscious than its rivals Google and Facebook. 

Apple refused to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters in 2016. The FBI had planned to bring Apple before it was allowed to, but Apple resisted the FBI’s pressure and found an Israeli company that could crack the iPhone.

Yet Cook’s company does not support every attempt by Congress to regulate its industry. Antitrust legislation, currently in the Senate’s process of being passed by the Senate, would make Apple allow other apps stores to be installed on its devices. It would also break Apple’s monopoly over what apps iPhone users can install. Cook opposed the legislation, asserting that it would permit unsafe and insecure apps. “data hungry”Apps onto Apple devices are reportedly set to become law as the bill could be approved as soon as March.



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