Tim Cook Calls on the FTC to Allow Individuals to Track and Delete Their Personal Data

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has been pretty vocal recently. Some of that has been less-than-great news, and some of it has been defending new device launches.

And now the chief executive is stepping up to talk about data privacy, something he is all too familiar with. Cook has penned an op-ed for TIME magazine, laying it out plainly that individuals should have the ability to “delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all”. Cook details how shadow brokers, companies that collect and sell personal data gathered by digital tracking, have run rampant and it needs to stop. Cook says personal data should be secure by default, and minimized as a whole.

“First, the right to have personal data minimized. Companies should challenge themselves to strip identifying information from customer data or avoid collecting it in the first place. Second, the right to knowledge—to know what data is being collected and why. Third, the right to access. Companies should make it easy for you to access, correct and delete your personal data. And fourth, the right to data security, without which trust is impossible.”

What to do? Cook is calling upon the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to build a “data-broker clearinghouse”, which would basically require companies that track and collect data to register their business and detail what they are doing. With this one simple addition, Cook says this would make it possible for consumers to “track the transactions that have bundled and sold their data from place to place, and [give] users the power to delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all”.

The full write-up is certainly worth a look. However, for those who keep track of this sort of thing this isn’t new at all. Cook has been beating this drum for a long time, but that is how it should be. The security and privacy of Apple customers is a major selling point for the company and helps it stand out against, well, just about every other major company out there with a few rare exceptions.

Still, it’s good to hear that Apple is still going down this track. It will be a sad day when, or if (fingers crossed) that Apple stops beating this particular drum and changes gears. For now, though, it sounds like Apple’s major security tentpole is staying upright.

[via TIME]