Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive who has emerged as a powerful privacy advocate, has called on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to put in place a new framework to increase the transparency of companies that handle user data.
According to a report in CNBC, in an op-ed piece for Time Magazine published Wednesday (Jan. 17), Cook said consumers should be able to track where their data is going and delete any information on demand. Cook called on the FTC to create a “data-broker clearinghouse” to control the flow of data. The executive said that he, along with others, will request that U.S. Congress put in place comprehensive legislation that lets consumers reduce the data these companies have on them. It will also give consumers the right to know what personal information a company is collecting and to delete it.
“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 said in the article, reported CNBC. “Technology has the potential to keep changing the world for the better, but it will never achieve that potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it.”
This isn’t the first time Cook has called for better data protection for consumers. Last year during a speech in Brussels, he said personal information is being “weaponized,” reported CNBC. In the wake of the data scandal at Facebook, in which the data of 87 million users was accessed by the now-defunct political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica without their consent, Cook has stepped up his calls for more protection. Subsequent data breaches at Facebook and Google have prompted Cook to call for the FTC action.