Cook slams 'data industrial complex', says Apple backs federal privacy law

Sheri Evans
October 27, 2018

Apple has erred on the side of defending personal data by creating their hardware and software in such a way that they can not be accessed by third parties such as law-enforcement agencies even during legitimate investigations. Cook was particularly forceful in his belief that companies should recognise that "data belongs to the users" and they should be given the right to correct and delete their personal data to guarantee their own personal security, which, as Cook explained, "is the foundation of trust and all other privacy rights". The new rules require companies to justify the collection and use of personal data gleaned from phones, apps and visited websites.

"Every day billions of dollars change hands and countless decisions are made on the basis of our likes and dislikes, our friends and families, our relationships and conversations". "Our hopes and dreams". The Apple CEO said that while the scrapes of data collected by the tech companies was harmless on its own, it was being assembled, traded, and sold by tech firm for maximising their own profits. It should also, similar to the GDPR, allow users to know and control the data companies collect.

Cook also praised Europe's data protection laws, something which he was predicted to discuss yesterday: "We should celebrate the transformative work of the European institutions tasked with the successful implementation of the GDPR", said Cook.

"Silicon Valley claims to be the arbiter of all that is good for us", said Colin Bastable, CEO of Lucy Security, "but we know how that ends - badly".

"Your profile is then run through algorithms that can serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into hardened convictions".

In turn, Zuckerberg, speaking via video message, said: "Instead of charging people, we charge advertisers to show ads".

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Apple has long tried to differentiate itself from competitors like Google with a bigger emphasis on privacy, and more recently started to do a lot of artificial intelligence computation on users' devices as opposed to in the cloud.

'This crisis is real. This is very unsettling and should make us all uncomfortable. One standout remark here is: "For artificial intelligence to be truly smart, it must respect human values".

Issues over how data is used and how consumers can protect their personal information are under the spotlight after big breaches of data privacy involving millions of internet and social media users in Europe and the US.

Cook didn't name the offenders in his speech, but he blasted the tech industry's reliance on collecting people's personal data to run their products.

In a series of tweets that followed his address, Cook expanded on his call to action, saying "privacy is a fundamental human right". Mr Cook has previously criticised the companies for basing their business models on harvesting personal information for advertising, while highlighting that Apple tries to collect as little of it as possible. "We at Apple are in full support of a comprehensive federal privacy law in the United States", he added to a round of applause.

During his speech, Cook complimented the European Union for passing GDPR.

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