Critics Say Apple Is Pro-Privacy In Word, Not Deed

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long supported privacy-related laws regarding user information, but according to a report by The Washington Post, the company rarely does anything to move the issue forward.

In fact, in a recent meeting with Democratic lawmakers, Cook said he wanted Congress to end years of inaction on the issue and begin drafting privacy law.

“It was the first issue he brought up,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene, one of the lawmakers who met with Cook. He “really talked about the need for privacy across the board,” said DelBene, who used to work for Microsoft.

She drafted a bill but was unable to get Cook to specifically endorse it. Many privacy advocates say that while Apple says it supports privacy legislation, it never does anything about and in some instances gives money to lobbying efforts that oppose rather than support privacy efforts. 

Sen. Mark R. Warner, a harsh outspoken voice against tech companies and privacy violations, said the company isn’t doing enough.

“I would argue there’s a need for Apple to be a more vocal part of this debate,” he said.

California Assemblyman Marc Levine has introduced two bills regarding privacy in his state.

“While the headlines from Tim Cook have him being really forward on advancing the idea that policy can help control how data is used and mismanaged and abused, that hasn’t played out in policymaking,” he said. “I would welcome a stronger presence by Apple and I would also welcome their advocacy on what best practices should be.”

Apple opposed the legislation through the trade groups that it helps to fund. Apple is “just not face forward on privacy,” Levine said.

”We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and is at the core of what it means to be an American. To that end, we advocate for strong federal legislation that protects everyone regardless of which state they may live,” said Apple spokesman Fred Sainz. “We understand the frustration at the state level — we are frustrated too — but this topic is so important we need to be united across America.”



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