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Apple agrees to join the Digital Due Process Coalition to improve online privacy

Major victory for privacy advocates
Fri Sep 23 2011, 12:42

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS GIANT Apple has agreed to join the Digital Due Process Coalition as part of an online privacy initiative called for by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The move comes as part of a wider effort by privacy advocates to secure updates to online privacy laws, replacing the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, which was passed before the web was even invented.

The EFF is particularly concerned that data stored in search engines is not considered to be protected by the Act, while there appears to be still a major grey area surrounding the information acquired by Google and Facebook, not to mention phone and internet service providers.

Apple was one of thirteen companies that the EFF called on to join the Digital Due Process group, which includes the EFF, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Centre for Democracy and Technology, AT&T, Ebay, and Comcast. Cloud storage service Dropbox also agreed to join.

Apple's decision to embrace the Digital Due Process coalition will give the coalition a stronger position in the fight for improved privacy laws in the US Congress, and it will also pressure other companies to follow suit.

Some of the big names that the EFF also asked to join, but which so far have not, include Google, Microsoft and Amazon. With Google having had just as many online privacy issues as Apple has in recent months, it could benefit from the positive attention of such a venture.

Apple and Dropbox have now earned a "gold star" from the EFF for their efforts. How strongly they will fight for changes to privacy laws remains to be seen, but it's a significant step forward and a major win for privacy advocates.

The Digital Due Process Coalition launched earlier this year and has already secured five Congressional hearings on the issue of online privacy. As more privacy incidents hit the headlines around the world this is likely to become an even bigger concern for politicians and technology companies. µ

 

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