Tim Cook: FTC should let users delete their data 'on demand, freely, easily'

Tim Cook: FTC should let users delete their data 'on demand, freely, easily'

Apple CEO Tim Cook called for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to allow users delete their data "on demand, freely, [and] easily" amid growing concerns about how large companies collect and sell information about individuals. 

In an op-ed published Wednesday in Time magazine, the Apple chief laid out a series of recommendations for a comprehensive national data privacy law, which he said should include greater oversight of data brokers. 

Data brokers are third-party entities that collect and sell data about consumers using their online footprint. 

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Cook wrote that the FTC could create a "data-broker clearinghouse," which would require data brokers to register their activities. 

"Meaningful, comprehensive federal privacy legislation should not only aim to put consumers in control of their data, it should also shine a light on actors trafficking in your data behind the scenes," Cook wrote.

"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," he added. 

Cook has long been a vocal advocate for federal privacy legislation, an issue that House Democrats have said they will take up during the 116th Congress

As Google and Facebook have faced escalating scrutiny over their data-protection practices, Apple has sought to establish itself as an advocate for greater data-protection regulations. 

Cook during a conference in Brussels last year slammed the "data industrial complex," calling for a new privacy standard in the U.S. similar to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation. 

"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," Cook wrote in the op-ed on Wednesday. "That’s why I and others are calling on the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation—a landmark package of reforms that protect and empower the consumer."