Apple endorses comprehensive privacy legislation in U.S. Senate testimony

Bud Tribble, Apple’s Vice President of Software Technology, has provided the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Hearing on “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy” written Congressional Testimony, dated September 26, 2018. Here it is, verbatim:

Good morning Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, and members of the Committee. I am honored to be with you for this important hearing and to convey Apple’s support for comprehensive federal privacy legislation that reflects Apple’s long- held view that privacy is a fundamental human right.

My name is Bud Tribble. I am a physician; my research background includes neurophysiology and mechanisms of epilepsy. I am also Vice President of Software Technology for Apple, where I began my career in 1981, working as manager for the original Macintosh Software team. It was an exciting time to be at Apple. Back then, computing was something that was done by third-parties using big mainframe computers until the debut of personal computers like Macintosh. Few people could have imagined a day when they would have a computer in their pockets. And even fewer people could have imagined the amount of personal information that would be flowing in cyberspace.

To Apple, privacy means much more than having the right to not share your personal information. Privacy is about putting the user in control when it comes to that information. That means that users can decide whether to share personal information and with whom. It means that they understand how that information will be used. Ultimately, privacy is about living in a world where you can trust that your decisions about how your personal information is shared and used are being respected. We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, which should be supported by both social norms and the law.

This approach comes very naturally to Apple. We got our start by ushering in the personal computer revolution—putting the user in the driver’s seat of their own computer. When the Internet began greasing the skids on information flow, it seemed very natural and very important to extend that by putting users in control of their personal information. Apple is about harnessing technology to empower people. We have proved time and again that great experiences don’t have to come at the expense of privacy and security.

At Apple, this has a fundamental effect on how we develop all of our products. Some would call this “privacy by design.” It means that we challenge ourselves to minimize the amount of personal information we collect. Can the information we do collect be less identifiable? Can we process information on the device instead of sending it to servers? We want your device to know everything about you; we don’t feel that we should.

When we do collect personal information, we are specific and transparent about how it will be used. We do not combine it into a single large customer profile across all of our services. We strive to give the user meaningful choice and control over what information is collected and used. We spend a lot of time designing the best way to present those choices and explain them to the user. And finally, we provide strong, easy to use security to help ensure that privacy expectations are not destroyed by bad actors.

These concepts have guided our design process for years because privacy is a core value at Apple, not an obligation or an aftermarket add-on. And these are a few of the concepts that we believe this Committee should consider as it undertakes the important task of drafting comprehensive privacy legislation that protects consumers and encourages continued innovation.

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important hearing.

MacDailyNews Take: Expect lobbyists for Google and Facebook et al. to be working overtime crafting myriad loopholes to whatever legislation comes about, if any.

Without being able to suck up their suckers’ personal data, the business models of Google, Facebook, etc. are dead.

We can hope for something like the GDPR to be passed and signed in the U.S.A., but we’re realistic, too.

Trump administration working on federal data privacy policy – July 27, 2018
California’s data privacy law highlights growing frustration with tech industry – July 17, 2018
U.S. House Republicans demand answers from Apple, Google on privacy, data practices – July 9, 2018
California lawmakers approve data-privacy bill despite opposition from Google, Facebook, advertisers – June 29, 2018
Apple highlights user privacy as Facebook exec steps down – June 14, 2018

Privacy and Security: How Apple thrived in a season of tech scandals – September 26, 2018
Edward Snowden: No matter what, do not use Google’s new Allo messenger app – September 23, 2016
Google to pay $5.5 million for sneaking around Apple’s privacy settings to collect user data – August 31, 2016
Apple takes a swing at privacy-tampling, personal data-guzzling rivals like Google – September 29, 2015
Apple reinvents the privacy policy – September 29, 2015
Apple selling targeted ads, but their new privacy policies shows they think different about tracking – September 29, 2015
Apple: Hey Siri and Live Photos data stays only on your device to ensure privacy – September 12, 2015
Apple issues iPhone manifesto; blasts Android’s lack of updates, lack of privacy, rampant malware – August 10, 2015
Edward Snowden supports Apple’s stance on customer privacy – June 17, 2015
Mossberg: Apple’s latest product is privacy – June 12, 2015
Apple looks to be building an alternative to the Google-branded, hand-over-your-privacy ‘Internet Experience’ – June 11, 2015
Understanding Apple and privacy – June 8, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014


  1. Unfortunately the GDPR here in Europe is being thwarted by the likes of google , Facebook et al, by making their privacy pages virtually unworkable. They make you jump through hoops to try and prevent you opting out of using your personal information. They usually give you links which force you to open webpage after webpage, which lead to nowhere and you end up giving up!!

    The regulators should get wise to this and force them to simplify it to a single page with all opt out options easily available. Not seen a single one like this so far.

  2. We’ve always had a very different view of privacy than some of our colleagues in the valley. We take privacy extremely seriously. We worry a lot about location in phones, and we worry that some 14-year-old is going to get stalked, and something terrible is gonna happen because of our phone. As an example: before any app can get location data, we don’t make it a rule that they have to put up a panel and ask, because they might not follow that rule. They call our location services, and we put up the panel saying, “this app wants to use your location data is that okay with you” every time they want to use it. We do a lot of things like that to ensure that people understand what these apps are doing. That’s one of the reasons we have the curated App Store. We have rejected a lot of apps that want to take a lot of your personal data and suck it up into the cloud, a lot. A lot of people in the valley think we’re really old-fashioned about this, and maybe we are, but we worry about stuff like this. Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for in plain english and repeatedly, that’s what it means. I am an optimist I believe people are smart and some people want to share more data than other people do, ask them, ask them every time, make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of you asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data, that’s what we think.

    source: Steve Jobs: The Unauthorized Autobiography

  3. “To Apple, privacy means much more than having the right to not share your personal information. Privacy is about putting the user in control when it comes to that information. That means that users can decide whether to share personal information and with whom.” – Bud Tribble


    -Then why is Apple paid by Google to be the default search on iOS?

    -Why am I forced to shop for Apps only from Apple?

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