Apple leaves privacy trade group it sees as too 'industry-friendly' | Cult of Mac

Apple leaves privacy trade group it sees as too ‘industry-friendly’

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Apple's decision to drop out of the privacy trade group comes ahead of Tim Cook headlining a global privacy summit.
Apple's decision to drop out of the privacy trade group comes ahead of Tim Cook headlining a global privacy summit.
Photo: Fortune Global Forum/Flickr CC

Apple dropped out of a privacy trade group that pushes increasingly “industry-friendly data privacy laws.” The move comes ahead of Apple CEO Tim Cook headlining the International Association of Privacy Professionals Global Privacy Summit next Tuesday.

Cupertino confirmed it will leave the trade group, known as the State Privacy and Security Coalition, through a spokesperson following an initial report about it in Politico.

Apple drops out of privacy trade group

The State Privacy and Security Coalition has been called “secretive.” And large law firm DLA Piper, which runs the group, has drawn fire for pushing privacy legislation that favors tech companies at the expense of protecting consumers.

Apple’s decision to drop out of the group apparently stems from concerns over that industry-centric stance. As Politico noted:

The company’s decision to leave the secretive trade group, which is run by major law firm DLA Piper, comes as Apple further positions itself as the privacy-friendly tech company. A source familiar with the split said Apple is departing over concerns that legislation the SPSC is pushing would not adequately protect user data.

SPSC: No comment (or not much of one)

Andrew Kingman, the group’s head and general counsel, said in response to a question about Apple’s decision that the group “does not comment on membership changes.” Even so, Kingman went on to add that the State Privacy and Security Coalition “supports a federal privacy law that establishes consistent protections for consumers.”

SPSC advances bills across the U.S. that purport to protect user privacy. But in some cases, the proposed legislation can be more tech-industry-friendly than Apple’s positions.

In one example, a bill backed by the group that passed in Utah drew criticism for two main reasons. One, it allows generous exemptions for financial institutions. And two, it gives companies one full month to fix privacy violations before the state can take enforcement action.

Tim Cook keynote at global privacy summit

Apple’s decision to depart the group comes ahead of Tim Cook headlining the IAPP Global Privacy Summit next week. On Tuesday, the Apple CEO will deliver a keynote address opening the event. He’s expected to reiterate Apple’s assurance that it considers privacy a “fundamental human right.”

“Tim Cook is a leading and influential voice for the privacy community, especially as Apple remains a critical player in the broader environment in which the digital economy operates,” said J. Trevor Hughes, IAPP’s president and CEO, in a statement. “We look forward to his contributions to the event’s powerful dialogue on privacy and trust in the digital economy.”