Tim Cook addresses need for transparency between consumers and companies

Speaking at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection & Privacy Commissioners held in Brussels, Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted the need for better transparency between consumer and corporations when it comes to data. Speaking on the matter, The Apple CEO highlighted instances where data can be misused for manipulation or malicious purposes without the individual’s knowledge.

Tim Cook

Tim Cook said that the shroud of information disparity between US companies and consumers needs to be lifted. He used Cambridge Analytica as an example where user data was manipulated to favor an agenda. The incident altered the political opinion of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge.

Apple recently demonstrated their support for data transparency by allowing residents of the United States, Canada, and other countries to request their data. As a point of reference, Tim Cook praised General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented in the European Union and how it empowers their citizens. With the help of GDPR, consumers in the European Union can probe the company holding their data and request a copy of it, or its complete removal from their systems, thus protecting that data from misuse.

Cook highlighted that should such a regulation be replicated for the US, it needs to have the following rights for consumers:

  • Ease of access to personal data for consumer
  • The consumers right to know the data collected on them by the company
  • The ability to access the data to its fullest extent
  • The company is responsible for the security of the data

He continued that the trust between US companies and their consumers is in a bad place right now. To help alleviate that lack of trust between the two groups, there has to be a gesture of good faith from the companies first. Tim Cook cites this lack of trust as a hurdle for innovation.

As it stands, companies in the US are perceived as anti-consumer due to their lack of cooperation when it comes to transparency with consumer data and its use. Tim Cook also addressed Facebook and Google subtly in his speech and how they continue to harvest user data without full accountability to the consumer.

You can watch the full keynote below which presents a lot of good points and why the need for data transparency is more than ever, the need of the hour.