Data Broker Acxiom Comes Out in Support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's Call for US Data Privacy Regulation

One of the biggest ad data brokers has come out in support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's call for federal privacy legislation to regulate the collection and use of personal data in the United States.


In a statement Thursday evening provided to Business Insider, data broker Acxiom confirmed its support for federal privacy legislation. "Acxiom, like Mr. Cook, also supports a national privacy law for the US, such as GDPR provides for the European Union," it read.

A data broker acts as a middleman, transferring user data between different companies and parties. In his TIME op-ed yesterday, Cook called such an entity "a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer."

In a message consistent with Apple's policy that privacy is a "fundamental human right," Cook railed against this market for user information, which he said operates in a "shadow economy" that's largely unchecked, "out of sight of consumers, regulators and lawmakers."

Responding to Cook's clarion call, Acxiom said that it had been "actively participating in discussions with US lawmakers" for years but denied that it partook in a "shadow economy" that operates unchecked.

We agree that we must root out the nefarious players in the ecosystem, and Acxiom’s data privacy impact assessment (DPIA) process ensures we don’t do business with questionable companies. We look forward to working with people across the industry, including Apple, to ensure transparency, access and control is available to all people.

In his TIME op-ed, Cook argued for the creation of a "data-broker clearinghouse" that all brokers would be required to register, which would enable consumers users to track transactions that include their data and delete it forever if desired.

"As this debate kicks off, there will be plenty of proposals and competing interests for policymakers to consider," said Cook. "We cannot lose sight of the most important constituency: individuals trying to win back their right to privacy."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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20 months ago

One of the biggest ad data brokers has come out in support of Apple CEO Tim Cook's call for federal privacy legislation ('https://www.macrumors.com/2019/01/17/tim-cook-2019-privacy-letter/') to regulate the collection and use of personal data in the United States.

Hahahahahaha

Where "in support of" means "wanting to participate in writing the legislation in order to make it toothless".
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

And to be fair, we should pick on ourselves. Blindly reading a privacy policy and TOS and clicking "OK"—the onus falls on consumers. "It's long" is not a very compelling excuse.

If the vast majority of people is unwilling or unable to read lengthy policies and terms of service, maybe the problem isn't with those people.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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20 months ago


"We cannot lose sight of the most important constituency: individuals trying to win back their right to privacy."

Well then Mr Tim Cook don't allow companies that use personal data on your platform. erm I'm sorry you want Google, you want Facebook. you want Twitter, etc etc
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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20 months ago

It's curious that Cook has made this his cause. I wonder if something malicious happened to him personally.

I don’t think so, Apple has been positioning itself for years now in a way that makes privacy a business differentiator, people are just now starting to put together the pieces of “why” as a clearer understanding of Big Data starts making its way to the population.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

Well then Mr Tim Cook don't allow companies that use personal data on your platform. erm I'm sorry you want Google, you want Facebook. you want Twitter, etc etc

Google by default for $9 billion...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

I actually read all those damned things. I really do.

It’s just that I don’t always understand all the creative ways all those policies will be stretched into uses by affiliates and partners in ways that are constantly evolving. Technology moves forward at a pace that exceeds society’s ability to properly manage its excesses.

I willingly give up for tangible benefits some data now, because the existing social structures and existing technology dont at the time seem to indicate any harm will come of it.

Look at how all of us who ever posted photos of ourselves on social media may find in the future that those photos are used against us in mass public surveillance of the type currently used and accepted in China.

In only a couple of years the population of China has found itself facially mapped into an AI facial recognition system of massive scope. They once were led by a president limrestrained by term limits. Now they’ve got a dictator for life and their every move is scrutinized and controlled for the benefit of the state.

For us it will be big business using data that seems innocent and useless today, but will feed into a system we can’t even imagine powered by technology that hasn’t been invented yet.

Lol but I do find I am forever answering the same questions over and over to doctors and pediatricians because apparently nobody is keeping cohesive medical records. :rolleyes: Medical record keeping still seems mightily fragmented.

These are excellent thoughts all the way around.

I too read the terms—but perhaps that’s because I sometimes have to write them myself.

You’re right about future unforeseen usages. I simply tend not to worry about it too much. Some might call that naive, but really it’s more cynicism and apathy. I don’t care if a bunch of people know that I wear Calvin Klein boxer briefs. Heck, I don’t care if ex girlfriends know I occasionally look them up. I guess I don’t do anything online with the expectation that it’s fully private.

Most data uses are relatively benign. The goal is to make money—and not to embarrass people, as that’s not a long-term profitable business model. I can live with all that, although I accept that that’s my personal choice and others may have very different preferences.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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