Apple boss lambasts big tech firms for weaponizing personal data.
| Calls for a federal privacy law in the USA

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for a federal privacy law in the USA, whilst slamming tech rivals over privacy. He warned that people’s personal data is being “weaponized” for profit.

Speaking at a data privacy conference in Brussels, Mr Cook did little to disguise his criticisms of firms such as Google and Facebook, which he says aim to collect as much information about people as possible in order to make money.

Mr Cook and his colleagues at Apple have frequently argued that s of the technology industry abuse its users’ trust by taking intimate data from them for financial gain. But his latest comments at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners are possibly the strongest attack on those firms yet.

Cook said there should be a federal law that stops data being abused. While touting Apple’s commitment to privacy, he praised the GDPR rules introduced in May, designed to protect data in Europe.

Reuters quoted Cook as telling his audience…

The desire to put profits over privacy is nothing new,

Issues over how data is used and what consumers can do to protect their personal information are under the spotlight. Huge breaches of privacy have occurred, involving millions of internet and social media users in Europe and the United States.

Weaponizing personal data for profit

Weaponizing personal data … trick, or trade?

In his address, Cook cited former Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis who in 1890 warned that gossip was no longer the resource of the idle and the vicious, but had become a trade.

Mr Cook said:

Today that trade has exploded into a data industrial complex. Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency, … These scraps of data … each one harmless enough on its own … are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded, and sold,

He pointed out that algorithms, as used by Facebook and Google for example, are turning harmless preferences into hardened convictions.

Cook also warned about governments abusing users’ data and their trust, a concern for many with elections coming up in several countries worldwide.

Sources and credits:  Reuters, The Guardian

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