Data Privacy has had a long history of bickerings involving global companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Huawei, and not to leave behind Apple along with many others; to small-time websites and SMBs that deal in mundane businesses.
Data breach, unauthorized data leak or share, data manipulations, illegal data aggregation, and several other categories can be termed as part of overall Data Privacy Regulations.
Today, some of the US States are racing to draft and formulate regulations in broader interests of its citizens, consumers, and that part encompassing good business practice, too.
Apple professes verbatim; ‘privacy is a fundamental human right,’ nevertheless, its actions have not been considered in line with The US Lawmakers who have found it wanting in this regards, manifestly. To name a few lawmakers like Rep. Suzan DelBene (Wash.), Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and California Assemblyman Marc Levine (D), are those who have time and again opined in media about Apple not being ‘more vocal part of the debate showing lack of activism.’
Cook and other Apple executives have been lobbying in Washington, meeting with members of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission to exchange and emphasize their take on data issues. But, this move is also viewed by many – a rallying point for their campaign to stand out in deference to one proffered by the Facebook, sources say.
Defending company’s views on the issue at large, Apple spokesman Fred Sainz said, “We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and is at the core of what it means to be an American. To that end, we advocate for strong federal legislation that protects everyone regardless of which state they may live.”
Sainz added, “We understand the frustration at the state level — we are frustrated too — but this topic is so important we need to be united across America.”
“We have been clear that we think any law should be grounded in four principles: the right to have personal data minimized or not collected at all; the right to know what customer data is being collected and what for; the right of users to get a copy of their data, correct and delete it; and finally, the right to safeguarding personal data through strong security. We have advocated for these protections publicly and consistently in over a hundred meetings with lawmakers across the country.
We would be the first to say we can do more and constantly challenge ourselves to do so. We have offered to help write the legislation and reiterate this offer. We do not believe, however, in having a company PAC or in using company funds to donate to any political candidate and have no intention of ever doing so.”
Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook Data Policies Sing Different Tunes
Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Huawei too lately have all been embroiled in the data privacy controversy that speaks of individual corporates fight out their own battles leading to no common solutions that could grapple the problems on hand. And to top it all, there are no proper – forget precise regulations to regulate data privacy in public as well as in the private domain to satisfy one and all.
All stake-holders vie for their stakes in this battle for data sanctity that eludes on the run for leadership over competition and gaining big bucks – or rather self-interests, to be precise.
Let us now take a peek into Google’s Privacy Policies over the years:
- Circa 2005-2011: We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google when we have your consent to do so.
- Circa 2012: We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information
- Circa 2018-to present: To giving users more control and ownership over their data, the policy added nine mentions that users could export data and numerous sections explaining how to delete data as responded according to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or G.D.P.R.
Similarly, Facebook and Microsoft too, have put up their privacy policies to suit their business interests and attuned with market dynamics that affect them.
Surprisingly, even Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others have found Apple to ‘stand apart’ even while putting up a ‘joint facade’ on data privacy issues at The Capitol Hill.
However, Tuesday will witness a House Judiciary subcommittee dealing on antitrust issues, where other tech giants will be joined by Apple to deliberate on the same.
But what hurts the industry group most is when it has to stand as a united front, Apple stands out distinctly and with distinction – kind of ‘away from the crowd.’
California Assemblyman Marc Levine (D) has cited two instances where Apple has come alone when introduced two privacy bills in his state’s legislature this year despite funding its trade associations during the presentation. In another case to discuss California’s plastic bag ban, he was quoted saying, “They lobby in all these other areas. They’re just not face forward on privacy.”
What is the Way Forward Now?
A final word on Apple’s data policy with a quote by Tim Cook: “Even if you have done nothing wrong other than think differently, you begin to censor yourself. Not entirely at first. Just a little, bit by bit. To riskless, to hopeless, to imagine less, to dare less, to create less, to try less, to talk less, to think less. The chilling effect of digital surveillance is profound, and it touches everything.”