Apple CEO Calls On The US To Embrace EU-Type Privacy Laws


Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, is calling on the government in the U.S. to embrace privacy laws that are similar to the European Union.

The Financial Times, citing comments Cook made during a speech in Brussels, reported Cook said it was time “for the rest of the world” to take a page from the EU and create a comprehensive framework to protect the personal information of consumers. He was referring to the new laws on the books in the EU dubbed the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. “We are in support of a comprehensive federal privacy law in the US,” said Cook in the speech to delegates in the European Parliament. Under the GDPR regulators can fine companies that run afoul of the law, with the levies as high as 4 percent of yearly revenue. The White House, led by President Donald Trump, hasn’t been too keen to embrace a similar framework out of fear it will impose too many burdens on the companies. The Financial Times pointed to Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary who wrote in the Financial Times in May that the criteria to apply GDPR was “too vague” and had “undue barriers.”

Nevertheless, the FT reported that Cook warned in his speech that internet companies could abuse the personal data of consumers, for they know the person better than themselves.  “This is surveillance, and these stockpiles of personal data only enrich the companies that collect them. This should make us uncomfortable and unsettle us,” said the Apple chief.

Underscoring its commitment to privacy earlier in October, Apple announced it is launching a portal that enables customers to find out what kind of data the company has kept on them. The portal, which was already tested in the European Union as the EU launched its General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR), might include data such as calendar entries, photos, reminders, documents, website bookmarks, App Store purchases or support history of repairs to your devices. According to CNBC, the tech giant has also released additional enhanced privacy features with its new website and new iOS 12 operating system for iPhones and iPads. For example, its “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” technology stops the data collection so that consumers will no longer see ads for products related to purchases or web searches.