- Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduces the ADD Act, aiming at the formulation of a comprehensive federal privacy law.
- Tim Cook writes a letter to support the act and urge the Congress to take immediate action.
- Apple is using data privacy as the spearhead of their marketing campaign right now, coupled with security.
In the US, there is no single law to regulate the activities of data brokers who are engaged across the country. While federal regulations to control what happens in the financial or health sectors are in place, a comprehensive national law that defines how data is handled and enforces transparency is still missing. This is why US Senator of Florida Marco Rubio has introduced the ADD Act (American Data Dissemination), using the 1974 Privacy Act as its basis, and asking the FTC to submit detailed recommendations for the formulation of the user privacy law. The act is submitted with timed steps for FTC to respect and follow, even inducting the agency capable of promulgating a final regulation in 27 months from now, in the case that the Congress fails to do so until then.
In line with Apple’s stance on user privacy, Tim Cook has written a supportive letter on the ADD Act, urging the Congress to pass a comprehensive and in-depth national privacy law that will oblige data brokers to register to the FTC, have their data tracking and storing processes thoroughly reviewed, and giving users an easy option for their data deletion, or the opting out of the collection programs entirely. As the letter starts: “In 2019, it’s time to stand up for the right to privacy—yours, mine, all of ours. Consumers shouldn’t have to tolerate another year of companies irresponsibly amassing huge user profiles, data breaches that seem out of control and the vanishing ability to control our own digital lives.” while you can read the rest on the Time Magazine website.
According to a report published by FTC back in 2014, one of the data brokers that they examined maintained a humongous database of 1.4 million consumer transactions and more than 700 billion aggregated data elements. This is indicative of the level of privacy intrusion, and the amount of data that acts as the main value of this almost completely unregulated market. The ADD Act is also taking precautions to ensure that the large players in this field are more strenuously controlled, while other emerging companies enjoy exemptions based on their measurable size (annual revenue, amount of collected records, etc.).
Apple has already expressed their commitment to increase the privacy of their users by minimizing the data that it collects through their devices, emphasizing that data should belong to their users, and no one else. The smartphone developer claims that they do not sell any of the collected user data, and try to minimize any collection to the bare minimum that is required for an enjoyable experience on iOS.
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