// Tim Cook has warned that online retailers are selling consumer data to “data brokers”
// He has called for the FTC to allow users to track and delete their data
// This comes as Apple increasingly promotes itself as a data privacy advocate
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Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has called for regulators to allow consumers to track and delete their personal data and tackle the “shadow economy” of data brokers.
In an op-ed published in Time Magazine yesterday, the Apple boss continued to promote his company as an advocate of digital privacy, warning that online retailers and other companies are selling personal information to data brokers.
He wrote that everyone has purchased an item online, but “what the retailer doesn’t tell you is that it then turned around and sold or transferred information about your purchase to a ‘data broker’ – a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer.
“The trail disappears before you even know there is a trail,” he wrote.
“Right now, all of these secondary markets for your information exist in a shadow economy that’s largely unchecked – out of sight of consumers, regulators and lawmakers.”
To tackle the issue, Cook called on the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch a “data-broker clearinghouse” where any company buying and selling data will have to log their activities and be held accountable, while giving consumers the ability to track and delete their personal data.
Apple’s marketing approach is increasingly focused on its approach to user privacy, using its more stringent approach to data privacy as a competitive advantage against other tech giants like Google and Facebook.