Apple Inc. AAPL is leaving the State Privacy and Security Coalition (SPSC), accusing the group of lobbying for weak privacy laws that benefit the industry instead of the users.
What Happened: Emily Birnbaum — tech lobbying and influence reporter at Politico — reported on Thursday that Apple left the SPSC because it finds the legislation the group pushes for does not adequately protect user privacy.
The organization is "the major coalition pushing for industry-friendly privacy legislation in the" United States, the report said.
SPSC members include AT&T T, Meta Platforms Inc. FB, Google owner Alphabet Inc. GOOG GOOGL and other major players in the technology and media industries.
Why It's Important: Apple leaving the lobbying organization in question clearly places the world's largest company at odds with those behemoths in a battle over the future of private data treatment laws.
A director at the nonprofit Consumer Reports said the group has "tremendous influence" and that its efforts are designed to go unnoticed, according to Politico.
The group is meant to present an industry perspective while preventing from it being attributed to the aforementioned companies that back the organization.
The Consumer Reports praised Apple in the Politico story for refusing to "hide behind the coalition" and describing the firm's departure as "a brave and welcome move."
The Backdrop: Privacy activists and proponents have widely criticized the SPSC for pushing for weak privacy laws in the United States to be approved in Congress. The organization registered DLA Piper lobbyist Anton van Seventer in Utah only days before the state approved its tech-friendly privacy bills.
Those bills — which are now laws — exempt some financial institutions and nonprofits in addition to giving firms one month to fix privacy issues before enforcement actions can be taken.
SPSC — which is so secretive that it does not even have a website — pushes for similar bills across multiple states.
One example is Iowa, where the lobbying group was able to weaken a privacy bill by changing the definition of data sales and removing consumers' ability to opt into or correct the processing of their personal data.
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