Apple CEO Tim Cook continues to beat the privacy drum, publishing an op-ed in Time calling for comprehensive privacy legislation. It’s short, sweet, and to the point, suggesting four principles that should guide rulemaking:
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.
Of course, Apple has made privacy a selling point for Apple products and services of late, going so far as to buy a 13-story billboard at CES saying “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” That was a none-too-subtle dig at other tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google whose business models rely on monetizing their customers’ personal information. Regardless of the competitive landscape, Cook is right—we need comprehensive privacy legislation because too many companies have financial incentives to abuse the personal data we disclose to them and very little liability for inadvertent breaches. That has to change.