Data brokers are firms which act as middlemen, transferring data between different companies and parties — or as Cook put it in the op-ed, “a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer.” The biggest data brokers include firms like Acxiom, Experian, and Oracle.
“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,” the Apple CEO wrote.
In the statement, Acxiom said that it is “actively participating in discussions with US lawmakers” on consumer transparency, which it claims to have been voluntarily providing “for years.” Still, the company denied that it partakes in the unchecked “shadow economy” which Cook made reference to in his op-ed.
“We agree that we must root out the nefarious players in the ecosystem, and Acxiom’s data privacy impact assessment (DPIA) process ensures we don’t do business with questionable companies,” the company wrote.
However, the company advocated for a single set of US policies, rather than multiple state laws.
“What everyone must understand is that the cost of compliance for all businesses in the US will be punitive and detrimental to our economy if everyone must adhere to multiple and independent state laws versus a singular, united set of policies across the US.”
Read more:Apple CEO Tim Cook on privacy: “we have to admit when the free market is not working”
Here’s Acxiom’s full response:
Data privacy and data ethics are important subjects for businesses, law makers and people globally. Acxiom has long championed an ethical data use framework that promotes transparency, access and control for consumers while enabling respected brands to provide more relevant marketing to these same people.
Acxiom, like Mr. Cook, also supports a national privacy law for the US, such as GDPR provides for the European Union. Acxiom is actively participating in discussions with US lawmakers as well as industry trade groups to help ensure US consumers receive the kind of transparency, access and control Acxiom has been providing voluntarily for years. We believe it would be universally beneficial if we were able to work with Apple and other industry leaders to define the best set of laws that maintain the benefits of data in our economy while giving the necessary protections and rights to all people. What everyone must understand is that the cost of compliance for all businesses in the US will be punitive and detrimental to our economy if everyone must adhere to multiple and independent state laws versus a singular, united set of policies across the US.
As a leading provider of marketing services, solutions and data, Acxiom has led the conversation around the ethical use of data and technology to help companies make the advertising messages consumers receive more relevant than random. Like all companies that have consumer data, Acxiom must comply with all laws and regulations applicable to numerous industries and jurisdictions, including FCRA, HIPPA and the EU’s GDPR. As an example, in the UK, Acxiom undertook and passed a DMA audit to demonstrate Acxiom’s compliance with the DMA code of Practice. In addition, Acxiom has always been proactive with industry associations across the globe, such as the ANA, DAA, DMA, and the IAB, all of which have established data use guidelines that mean genuine players in our industry self-regulate practices, even beyond current legal requirements.
We agree that we must root out the nefarious players in the ecosystem, and Acxiom’s data privacy impact assessment (DPIA) process ensures we don’t do business with questionable companies. We look forward to working with people across the industry, including Apple, to ensure transparency, access and control is available to all people.